Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates. This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director Robb Kahl
CBG Launches New Outreach Campaign for Large Municipal Projects
Every year, CBG investigators make hundreds of visits to public and private project sites to talk with workers, contractors, and vendors to educate people on the various laws regulating construction projects. We report egregious compliance breaches—such as failure to pay overtime or misclassifying employees as independent contractors—to regulatory agencies for enforcement. The goal in reporting violators is to ensure that signatory contractors have a level competitive playing field. 

While CBG has been visiting construction sites for nearly 30 years, our investigators are routinely asked: “Who are you?” To get ahead of the questions, CBG initiated a new educational campaign this spring. For municipal public works projects valued at $1 million or more, CBG will send all known plan holders a letter and informational materials relevant to the project. The letter lets plan holders know who CBG is and what we do. It lets them know that we will likely be visiting the jobsite and monitoring the project as it progresses. Accompanying the letter are educational flyers regarding proper classification of employees and Davis-Bacon compliance obligations if the project has federal funding.

For signatory contractors, we hope you already know who we are and reach out if you have questions. For non-signatory contractors, we want them to know that CBG will be monitoring the project to protect workers and ensure that all laws are being followed.
Building Wisconsin Together®
Looking for Future Leaders, Consider Youth Apprenticeship
In fall of 2020, the Operating Engineers joined five other construction trades that operate a formal Youth Apprenticeship program through DWD: carpentry, electrical, masonry/concrete, mechanical/HVAC, and plumbing/sprinkler fitting. 

Vinton Construction has committed to hire a student this spring from Valders High School as a youth apprentice. This is not the first time that Vinton has extended employment to a student before graduating. The son of an Operating Engineer at Mishicot High School was their first experience - today he is a first year apprentice with the Operating Engineers. 

We spoke with Rich Lamers (VP, Vinton Construction) to understand how they approach youth apprenticeship in order to share their experience and encourage other contractors to consider it this fall. There are a few key messages that can make this a rewarding experience for your company.
  • Define the competencies and experience you are looking for.  The student joining Vinton this spring has worked on a family farm, accepts that he will need to put in his time before becoming an apprentice with Local 139 and values the opportunity to begin a career that will allow him to financially support a family in the future. The student is not coming to Vinton with hands-on construction experience but he is willing to learn, is hardworking (evident by his GPA), and wants a career that allows him to grow. 

  • Provide clear messaging to the potential youth apprentices. Vinton is clear with students on what the process will look like – they will not graduate from high school and immediately become an Operator. Following the youth apprenticeship work experience and high school graduation, the student would be brought on as a laborer. As a laborer, they are exposed to many different areas of the company. Once they have a better understanding of the work and have demonstrated their ability as a laborer, Vinton may have them begin an apprenticeship as an Operating Engineer. 

  • Create a rewarding experience for both the youth apprentice and the company. Bringing an unexperienced young person into the company requires forethought on what work he/she will perform and who will provide supervision. Vinton has the youth apprentice assist with yard and maintenance work and assigns him/her to a crew, ensuring that there is a regular team of employees proving guidance and supervision. 

The workforce shortage our industry has experienced over the past few years has not gone away. Employing a youth apprentice is critical to the future of your company and the industry. Vinton Construction realizes “that our workforce is aging and we need to reach the next generation to grow within our company”. This fall, students will be looking for employers to work with them through youth apprenticeship. Is your company willing to make that investment in the future?  

If you are interested in learning more about YA or employing a Youth Apprentice for the spring, please contact Laura Cataldo at or 608-616-2835.  
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Task Force Officially Recommends Policies to Combat Wage Theft
A state task force on wage theft and misclassification is recommending that Wisconsin adopt new rules to prevent insurance fraud and hold contractors accountable for misconduct committed by their subcontractors.

Click HERE for article
WTBA Video Promotes Workzone Safety
WTBA this week released a video highlighting the top causes of injuries and fatalities in construction workzones while offering safety precautions to protect workers. Director of Engineering & Construction Matt Grove interviews Brad Sant, director of safety and education for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), on ways workers can remain visible and avoid common mistakes while working on projects.
WTBA hopes this video can assist member companies in their spring start-up meetings, as COVID continues to restrict face-to-face meetings.
Governor Plans Listening Session on March 30
Gov. Tony Evers (left) has announced a virtual discussion of transportation and infrastructure at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. The session is part of the Governor's "Badger Bounceback" initiative on steps Wisconsin can take to begin rebuilding from the effects of the pandemic. WTBA encourages members to participate in the session to emphasize to the East Wing our industry's role in that rebuilding effort -- from job creation to statewide economic growth and traveler safety.
If you would like suggested talking points, please contact WTBA's Sean Stephenson at
OSHA Releases National Emphasis Program for COVID-19
In response to President Biden's executive order on protecting worker health and safety, the OSHA has launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law. 

OSHA will be looking at Health Care and General industry (High Risk) for the majority of their COVID-19 inspections. Contractors need to following CDC guidance on the use face coverings and eliminating close contact with other people. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For information on COVID-19 please refer to our COVID -19 webpage.
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