If a career in construction interests you, the next step is Apprenticeship.
What is Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a type of training that allows an individual interested in a construction trade to learn through a combination of on-the-job experiential training and classroom learning. Programs typically run anywhere between 3 - 6 years and apprentices are paid for work done during their training period. Classroom work centers on subjects that relate to the chosen trade and are completed at sponsor's designated training facilities or at local Junior or Community Colleges or Technical Schools.
Apprentices need to be physically able to carry out the work they are assigned and should be of age (generally 17 or 18 depending on the trade and the state in which the apprenticeship is completed) to enroll in the program. Additionally, individuals interested in apprenticeship should check on any educational requirements for their chosen apprenticeship program. Many programs require that applicants have obtained either a high school diploma or GED. Some apprenticeship programs may also require an entrance examination.
What's a JATC?
A JATC is a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. These committees are comprised of highly skilled and experienced members of each trade. Committee members represent both labor and management. JATCs determine the number of apprentices that are needed for each trade and make final determinations on which individuals to accept as apprentices. Each JATC also determines the education, experience, and training standards for apprenticeship.
What About College?
A college degree is a wonderful tool for some people, but it is not the only tool available. Apprenticeship provides invaluable practical training while also providing academic preparation for a career in the apprentices chosen trade. Additionally, many apprenticeship programs qualify for college credit, which provides another future learning avenue for apprentices. Another consideration for apprentices is the ability to earn a livable wage while training, unlike many college students who have to rely on loans and grants to fund their education.
The Union Advantage
Union membership has many advantages for apprentices. Unions allow their members the ability to work for many different employers while maintaining their health care and pensions among other benefits. Union apprentices learn from the most highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople in America. The high standards of Union safety and training mean that Union apprentices begin their careers at an advantage. Additionally, Union apprentices can expect contractually guaranteed regular pay increases, meaning that as an apprentices skills increase so does their pay.