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Delaware Legislators Probe Job-Training Program for Wage Theft

DOVER, Del.—A state-subsidized “pre-apprenticeship” program had participants work for free while giving them inadequate credentials to get building-trades jobs, Delaware state legislators said May 7. The Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware’s HomeWorks program received more than $167,000 in state funds, state Labor Department education head Stacey Laing told the state Senate Labor Committee, with more than half intended to pay trainees for working with contractors half the week. But former participant Kashif Handy, 29, told the Wilmington News Journal that he was often assigned to work for no pay, and that when he was looking for a job, a contractor told him the pre-apprenticeship certificate he’d gotten was meaningless. Interfaith’s director denied the allegations, but did not testify at the hearing. Labor Committee chair Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington) said the nonprofit group’s lawyer told him it couldn’t comment because HomeWorks is being investigated by the Department of Labor. “We knew that this was a smoking gun,” said James Maravelias, business manager for the Delaware branch of the Laborers International Union of North America. “We just didn’t know how much smoke was coming out of it.” Read more

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