Monday, August 29, 2016

The Value of Apprenticeships: In the News

The undeniable value of apprenticeship programs have recently been in the news across the country.

An Aug. 25 article in the Mississippi Business Journal reported that 90 new apprentices are taking part in a five-year training program, sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), to become certified to work in commercial and industrial construction. The program was created more than 70 years ago by the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

(Missouri Business Journal photo)
"So far the NECA/IBEW alliance has trained more than 350,000 apprentices to become journeymen and is the largest such training program of its kind," the report said, while also detailing the 900 hours of classroom work and almost 10,000 hours of on-the-job training necessary to be certified.

In that same issue, the Journal profiled a "Women in Construction" program that is providing women with a way to make a living wage to support their families. Classes run eight to 12 weeks, and training "can include apprenticeships or workforce training at community colleges."

In Iowa, Monica Verdon, a candidate for Congress, stressed the importance of investing in workforce training and job training during a campaign stop Aug. 25 at the Iron Workers Local 89 apprentice training center in Cedar Rapids.

Steve Coleson, a journeyman iron worker and part-time instructor at the center, told Verdon that apprentice iron workers start at $17.15 an hour, with benefits doubling that. "Journeyman iron workers can earn $45,000 a year and superintendents can make six-figure salaries," he said.

Verdon was impressed. "A four-year degree is not the only route to a successful career," she said. "We need to be doing everything we can to ensure Iowans are prepared for high-skill, good-paying jobs."

Apprenticeship programs are making a difference for skilled workers nationwide. Learn more about local apprenticeship programs at the East Central Ohio Building Trades website.

The East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council is online at

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summarizing the Problem with 'Right-to-Work'

(AFL-CIO graphic)
Since 2012, four states have adopted right-to-work laws: Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The danger, as the AFL-CIO has pointed out in an article on its website, is that by targeting unions and making them weaker, these laws lower wages and negatively affect living standards for workers.

The article points out that workers in right-to-work states earn almost $6,000 a year less than workers in other states. It also summarizes the case against right-to-work in a series of clear, documented points, pointing out that those states have:

  • Lower wages and incomes
  • Lower rates of health insurance coverage
  • Higher poverty and infant mortality rates
  • Less investment in education
  • Higher workplace fatalities

In addition, states without right-to-work laws benefit from a higher tax base, which has the effect of improving the overall quality of life.

Review the entire summary on the AFL-CIO website

Review the Economic Policy Institute's research on right-to-work.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at