Apprenticeships are a time-honored practice of training workers to be as best prepared as possible for a career. Some call an apprenticeship “the other four-year degree.” With costs of college and university tuition rising and an increasingly burdensome student debt crisis, it’s no wonder young workers are looking to apprenticeships to start their careers instead of attending college. The problem is the sanctity of real apprenticeships could be undone by a proposed Department of Labor rule change.
For many, apprenticeships and unions go hand-in-hand, especially in the building and construction trades. North America’s Building Trades Unions’ registered apprenticeship programs train workers to become highly skilled and hold a family-wage job. Training is debt-free and includes the latest technologically advanced tools and techniques.
Simply put, in Oregon and around the nation, union-registered apprenticeship programs supply the best workers to build our roads, bridges, schools, water, and energy systems that keep us safe and our nation competitive. It’s about starting a middle-class career with the skills you need, debt-free.
This week, November 11 – 15, has been National Apprenticeship Week, but this year North America’s Building Trades Unions have decided to call it Save Apprenticeship Week, because this valued and honored practice remains in jeopardy: Earlier this year, the Department of Labor proposed a rule change which would allow Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). The proposed change would allow businesses to create their own programs without oversight, lower pay, and no standards regarding worker safety and protection.
Across the country, we fought back: Nearly 325,000 Americans spoke out and said NO to IRAPS. Learn more about why construction apprenticeships are a critically important program for hundreds of thousands of workers by clicking here and stay tuned for more information about how to support the Building Trades’ apprenticeships.