WASHINGTON, DC – The following statement was released today in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of planned initiatives designed to increase apprenticeship education and training across the US economy:
“We commend the Administration for elevating and promoting the power of apprenticeship programs for workers and whole industries. As the preeminent organization involved in apprenticeship readiness and apprenticeship education and training today, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), its affiliated unions, and its contractor partners appreciate efforts by the Federal Government to increase utilization of apprenticeship education.
“Among construction apprentices in the US today, 75 percent are trained in the joint apprentice training committee (JATC) system, which the Building Trades operate in cooperation with their contractor partners. We know from over 100 years of experience that robust, labor-management commitment to and investment in craft training ensures the necessary and portable skills for workers to meet specific demands of employers and entire industries, while also providing the means for individuals and communities to gain a foothold on the ladder to the middle class. Coupled with increased investments in infrastructure, apprenticeship can unleash broad, sustainable growth throughout the country while also allowing for career pathways for long underserved communities and those looking to embark on safe, highly skilled, productive and rewarding careers in the construction industry.
“In the Building Trades, these apprenticeship career pathways have been fully developed through articulation agreements and other relationships with US colleges and universities. All Building Trades apprenticeship programs, for example, have been assessed for higher education credit. In fact, NABTU considers apprenticeship training ‘the other four-year degree.’ If the Building Trades training system, which includes both apprentice-level and journeyman-level training, was a degree granting college or university, it would be the largest degree granting college or university in the United States — over 5 times larger than Arizona State University. In fact, NABTU’s training infrastructure is rivaled only by the US military in terms of the quality and depth of skills training.
“US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta framed it correctly when he observed, ‘if you look into the Building Trades, there’s almost a billion [dollars] that’s spent every year, and that’s all private sector money. The Building Trades have put together labor management organizations that jointly invest in these apprenticeship programs because they know both on the labor side and the management side that a skilled workforce is critical to the Building Trades. And that’s how it’s worked for a number of years.’
“With over 1,650 training centers throughout the United States and 20,000 experienced and highly trained instructors, NABTU and its contractor partners will continue to promote our successful model and remain key stakeholders in this process initiated by the Administration to increase access to robust apprenticeship programs in other industries. We know well from experience that apprenticeship education can achieve the desired effects of both meeting the workforce needs of employers and industries, while also ensuring stable and prosperous middle-class careers for individual workers.”