Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Building Trades and Oil & Gas: A Pipeline to High-Paying Jobs

For the past few years the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council has been a strong supporter of the Stark Carroll Oil & Gas Partnership -- and with good reason. Although the oil and gas industry has been experiencing a downturn over the past 12 to 18 months, it remains a source of high-paying jobs for construction workers.

In a recent article on its website, North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) published an article stating that the building of America's energy infrastructure could support 1.15 million new jobs and add an average of $120 billion per year to the nation's GDP.

"The 14 national and international unions that comprise North America’s Building Trades Unions estimate that 50% of our collective membership of over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada are employed in energy-related industries," the article said.

In a statement before the U.S. Senate earlier this year, NABTU President Scott McGarvey emphasized the importance of those numbers, saying it meant workers "are able to provide for their families while receiving union-provided healthcare and pension benefits."

The estimate of 50 percent is a significant jump over just two years ago, when less than 10 percent of oil and gas workers were represented by unions. But, according to a report in USA Today, a shift from out-of-state to local labor led to a rise in union involvement.

The article said anti-fracking groups were dismayed that unions were supportive of drilling activity. "The increasing use of union construction labor has given energy companies a powerful ally as drilling is debated in communities nationwide," the article pointed out. "Many Republicans have been pro-drilling, but now some unions traditionally associated with Democrats are using their political clout to urge politicians to reject bans on pipelines or drilling."

Last year McGarvey reiterated, in a Huffington Post editorial, that the energy boom was responsible for creating new jobs, calling it "a leading contributor to American workers' vaulting out of the unemployment line and into the middle class."

The Building Trades continue to benefit from the ongoing work of the oil and gas industry. It's been a hotbed of opportunity in East Central Ohio, and is expected to rebound and again be a source of job growth between now and 2017.

Visit the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council online at

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Apprenticeship: The Path to a Rewarding, High-Paying Career

A recent op-ed piece in the Seattle Times highlighted the positive impact on earnings that an apprenticeship program can have. Titled "A job in the trades can bring personal, financial success," it was written by Mike Sotelo, president and CEO of the Consolidar Network, a Seattle-based organization that connects employers with the growing Latino workforce.

"A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree," he wrote. "But the message we're getting is that if we don't earn a college degree, then we become second tier in the social food chain."

Nothing could be further from the truth, and more voices are needed to highlight the long-term value of apprenticeship programs.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council put the spotlight squarely on that value in an information and recruitment publication we produced in 2013. You can view the publication on our website. Some highlights:

We produced this information/recruitment piece in 2013

  • Funded and operated by America's construction unions, the apprenticeship training we offer is of the highest caliber and is specific our industries, providing exactly what is needed to succeed and qualify for advancement.
  • Learning on the job enables trainees to avoid the college debt trap and graduate to journeyman status with immediate job prospects.
  • As a lifelong process, training ensures a lifetime of employment opportunities anywhere in the country.
  • Apprenticeship training ranges from two to five years, depending on the craft.

Mike Sotelo was exactly right; the path to apprenticeship is the path to a fulfilling, rewarding, and high-paying career. We're always available to answer questions and provide complete details. Contact the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council at (330) 454-3664, or online at

For a report from North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) on construction apprenticeships, click on the link below:

Visit the East Central Ohio Building Trades online at