Key Policy Issues


Registered apprenticeships are training programs in which participants get the opportunity to “earn while they learn,” with tuition costs covered by employers and labor-management organizations who gain access to a pool of skilled, productive, and safe workers.  Apprenticeship programs support standardized curriculum, including OSHA safety training and tailored curriculum for each craft.

What is the importance of apprenticeship training?

Participation in an apprenticeship program that is approved by and registered with the USDOL helps ensure workers receive the skills, training and experience necessary to produce the highest quality construction in a safe and efficient work environment. The USDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship requires program sponsors to submit written standards outlining the terms of apprenticeship employment, training and supervision and must include minimum hours of classroom and on-the-job training.

Why is apprenticeship training important for contractors?

  • – Apprenticeship programs provides contractors with access to a large pool of the top-rated tradesmen and tradeswomen, which means expanded bid opportunities and growth.
  • – Contractors receive higher profit margins by using a trained and skilled workforce that will perform quality work correctly the first time, thus lowering cost and increasing productivity.
  • – OSHA safety training requirements at the apprenticeship program reduces accidents, injuries and project downtime – all helping to decrease Workers’ Compensation costs and save contractors money.

Why is apprenticeship training important for public bodies?

  • – Apprenticeship programs provides public bodies with access to a pool of skilled workers, who help complete jobs safely, on time and on, or under, budget.
  • – Public bodies can be confident that taxpayer dollars are being spent on skilled workers who produce high quality work done right the first time, saving money on project overruns and increasing the long-term value of the project.

Why is apprenticeship training important for workers?

  • – Up-to-date training results in more frequent and stable job assignments, along with higher wages and more benefits.
  • – Workers “earn while they learn,” being paid competitive wages and health benefits by working during the day and taking classes during designated times with no student loan debt.
  • – Pay, benefits, and pension benefits are all available the day the apprentice begins work.

What is the difference between union and nonunion apprenticeship programs?

Union apprenticeship programs – sometimes called joint labor-management programs – are training programs entirely sponsored and funded through labor unions and employers who are signatories to collective bargaining agreements. Nonunion apprenticeship programs – sometimes called employer-only programs – are funded solely by construction employers.

Are union apprenticeship programs better than nonunion apprenticeship programs for workers?

Yes. At state-of-the-art training facilities, unions educate their apprentices with the skills and knowledge necessary to work safely, efficiently and produce high-quality craftsmanship. A union trained journeyman receives certified training and is kept up to date in the latest safety and technological developments throughout their career.

Do union apprentices fare better than nonunion apprentices?

Yes. Union apprenticeship programs and their graduates tend to have better economic outcomes than graduates from nonunion programs.  Union construction workers who graduated from a union apprenticeship program earn an average of $58,000 per year compared to $39,700 per year for nonunion construction workers.  In addition, 89% of union construction workers have private health insurance coverage compared with just 55 percent of nonunion construction workers. Ultimately, union construction workers are competitive with workers with college degrees, while nonunion construction workers are only on par with workers with high school diplomas.

Are apprenticeship programs good for the economy?

Yes. Labor unions invest millions of dollars each year in apprenticeship training programs to provide the highest-quality training for apprentices, ultimately raising construction standards across the industry.  This is provided at NO cost to taxpayers.  Instead, these programs help stimulate the economy, by creating jobs and increasing the tax base of construction workers.