Letter: Apprentices need training to graduate

This letter appeared on April 7th in Newsday:

This is a rebuttal to "Limiting pool of bidders will cost" [Letters, March 27]. Suffolk County's apprenticeship law has been in place since 2002. The only change in a recent revision was the requirement to show a graduation rate.

I believe contractors who don't want to see apprentices graduate could use the program for self gain. They would keep apprentices at the lowest pay rate possible, but bid for county contracts showing a higher rate of pay. This would unfairly enable contractors to keep more money.

At the same time, a contractor who doesn't invest in training does not enable apprentices to move toward graduation. This is not fair. I believe the state Department of Labor should take a closer look at apprenticeship programs to make sure they are not abused. These programs keep our kids on Long Island, allow them to become solid citizens and contribute to our economy. Suffolk apprentices deserve the chance to work on projects their tax dollars pay for.

Pete Zarcone, Holtsville

Editor's note: The writer is an executive board member of the General Building Laborers Local 66.