Carpenters again want town to consider apprentice requirement


The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters has asked the Riverhead Town Board to adopt a code that would require certain construction jobs to offer an apprenticeship program. 

“In order to obtain a building permit to renovate or build a commercial building over 100,000 square feet, any general contractor, subcontractor or contractor on that job must demonstrate participation in New York State-approved apprentice programs appropriate for the type and scope of work to be performed,” said Edward Enders, a council representative who addressed the Town Board Tuesday night.

Mr. Enders said Brookhaven, Huntington and Oyster Bay towns have this requirement in their codes and he’s asking Riverhead to do the same.

It’s likely that less than 50 percent of high school students go on to four-year colleges, he said.

In fact, according to numbers provided by the New York State Department of Education, 36 percent of students — not including special education students — attended four-year colleges after graduating Riverhead High School in 2012. Statewide, 52 percent of kids went on to four-year colleges after graduating high school.

“The rest have to go someplace and being in building trade is a good place to be,” Mr. Enders said. “They can earn a living, support their family and stay in the town.”

State numbers indicate that 49 percent of students went on to two-year schools after graduating from RHS in 2012 while 32 percent of students across the state did the same.

Town Board members made no commitments as to whether they would or wouldn’t support the measure.

A similar proposal came before the Town Board in 2007, during former Supervisor Phil Cardinale’s administration. At the time, the board held a public hearing on the measure, which was criticized as onerous and rejected.

In addition to Mr. Enders, who is a town resident, a number of Carpenter council members attended Tuesday’s board meeting donned in yellow tee shirts.

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