In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, learn more about the union’s ‘Four-year degree’
A college degree is often viewed as the only path after high school. However, traditional schooling to get a four-year degree isn’t the right choice for everyone. Hands-on learning in an everchanging work environment is a great opportunity for those interested in something different.
Queue union registered apprenticeship. Referred to as a “trades degree,” union registered apprenticeships take between two to five years of classroom and on-the-job training for experienced professionals to complete. Once a person reaches journeyperson status, their career path can advance as far as they want it to.
Union Apprenticeship = No Education Related Debt
Individuals who choose the apprenticeship path after high school get a head start on building a comfortable life. Investments in union training programs allow apprentices to receive competitive wages during classroom and on-the-job training, unlike in traditional college settings where students graduate with thousands in debt.
It should be noted that trades apprenticeships aren’t just for 18 year olds. Anyone looking for a stable career with excellent benefits has the opportunity to become a union apprentice. Our workforce readiness partner, WRTP|BIG STEP, helps individuals to best prepare for apprenticeship placement.
Better Opportunities for Advancement and Training
The construction industry offers a wide variety of career paths from an electrician to a sprinkler fitter. With experience, opportunities open to get involved in safety, estimating, training or ownership. With different vertical or lateral prospects, union tradespeople aren’t pigeonholed into one specific job function.
Major benefits of registered apprenticeship include robust union funded training and safety programs. Both apprentices and experienced workers get the same opportunity to learn new skills and stay updated on OSHA or ICRA certifications. The same sponsored opportunities aren’t available with non-registered apprenticeships.
A Worthwhile Investment for Employers
Turnover and retention are expensive. In the union construction industry, 91% of apprentices who complete their apprenticeship are still employed by the same company nine months later. When companies choose to hire registered apprentices, they gain a highly trained, safe, capable worker that will be able to contribute to the company’s success for many years ahead. Union health, welfare and pension funds administered by professional trust funds also add to employee satisfaction and retention, perks that non-union organizations don’t provide.
Standardized Training Creates Value for Everyone
So why does an apprenticeship need to be union affiliated you ask? The union difference is that we invest heavily in our people by mandating several years of training. Standardized training means that employers know that they can expect professional, experienced union crews. In this industry, safety is the number one priority and that’s shown through each of the trade’s training practices and health and safety mandates.
Apprenticeship Keeps Milwaukee on a Path of Growth
For those who choose the college path, they may have to, or choose to, move out of Wisconsin to learn and work. Trades apprenticeships create local opportunities for people looking to gain valuable skills without having to move away for college. In Milwaukee, skilled tradespeople are necessary to continue to build and grow our city. Premium wages mean our community reaps the tax benefits from a growing middle class. As many of our current tradespeople look to retirement, our job is also to supplement these openings with interested apprentices. When we provide the necessary training and employ our local tradespeople, we’re supporting our communities too.
Apprenticeship not only helps individuals to attain family sustaining wages, it also helps local companies and communities grow. Apprenticeship programs reduce turnover rates, increase productivity and lower the cost of employee recruitment processes. Learn more about the benefits of union registered apprenticeship on our website, buildingadvantage.org.