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Construction Work

skilled & Trained workforce

Over the past several years, California has started to implement skilled and trained workforce requirements that mandate contractors working on specific contracts or projects to employ a certain percentage of graduates from a registered apprenticeship program (for those working in an apprenticeable occupation). 

The most common projects that currently mandate "STW" requirements are:


  • School district (K-12) design build > $1 Million

  • School district (K-12) Lease/Leaseback

  • Local agency & other specified state agency design build > $1 Million

  • City of San Diego CM At-Risk projects > $25 Million

  • LAUSD Best Value > $1 Million

  • Alameda, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano & Yuba County Best Value projects > $1 Million

  • SANDAG, MTS, and NCTD projects > $1 Million

What is a "STW"?

A Skilled & Trained Workforce is all workers performing work in an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades who are either skilled journeypersons or apprentices registered in an apprenticeship program approved by the chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

"STW" Background

Existing California law authorizes a public entity to require a bidder, contractor, or other entity to use a Skilled & Trained Workforce to complete a contract or project regardless of whether the public entity is required to do so by a statute or regulation. When a contractor, bidder, or other entity is required to provide an enforceable commitment that a Skilled & Trained Workforce will be used, the public entity and the bidder, contractor, or other entity must enter into an enforceable written agreement that meets a specific set of requirements.

Who is a skilled  journeyperson?

A skilled journeyperson is a worker who has either:
1. Graduated from an apprenticeship program for the applicable occupation from a DAS approved apprenticeship program or, if located outside California, a DOL approved apprenticeship program. 

2. Has at least as many hours of on-the-job experience in the applicable occupation as would be required to graduate from an approved apprenticeship program.

Graduation Percentage Requirement 

30% - 60% of all Skilled Journeypersons must be graduates of an apprenticeship program for the applicable occupation and must be employed by every contractor and each of its subcontractors at every tier. The minimum graduation requirement varies depending on each specific craft and does not apply to teamsters. 

The following crafts have a fixed minimum graduation requirement of 30%.

Acoustical installers, bricklayers, carpenters, cement masons, drywall installers or lathers, marble masons, finishers, or setters, modular furniture or systems installers, operating engineers, pile drivers, plasterers, roofers or waterproofers, stone masons, surveyors, terrazzo workers or finishers, and tile layers, setters, and finishers.

For all other apprenticeable crafts, the following minimum graduation percentages are listed below: 

  • 30% for work performed on or after January 1, 2017 

  • 40% for work performed on or after January 1, 2018

  • 50% for work performed on or after January 1, 2019

  • 60% for work performed on or after January 1, 2020

*There have been no further increases in the percentage requirement since 2020.

Black Background


The graduation percentage requirement does not apply to a contractor or subcontractor if:

  • Less than 10 hours of work were performed in a calendar month in a particular craft.

A subcontractor does not need to meet the graduation percentage requirement if both of the following criteria is met:​

  • The subcontractor is not listed on the bid or was performing work as a substitute for a subcontractor that was listed and if the subcontract does not exceed 0.5% of the price of the total contract.

* These exceptions apply only to the graduation percentage requirements - not to the STW requirements generally. 

Abstract Background

monthly reports

  • Contractors subject to Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements are required to submit monthly compliance reports throughout the entire duration of the project to the public entity or awarding body.  

  • The reports must show sufficient proof that the contractor and all of its subcontractors are in compliance with all "STW" requirements.

  • Contractors that fail to comply with this requirement will face penalties, as mentioned below. 


Violations of "STW" requirements are enforced by the Labor Commissioner. Contractors and subcontractors who violate "STW" requirements can face civil wage penalty assessments of up to $10,000 per month.

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