Apprentices needed; payment provided
By KPC News
Social media is one of the newer tools that building trades unions are using to recruit applicants for their apprenticeship programs.
“That seems to be what attracts the younger crowd,” said Darrell Sade, business manager for IBEW Local 305 in Fort Wayne. The local also is in competition with some of the other building trades for qualified applicants, “so we have to be at the top of our game.”
These days, Local 305 needs to bring in at least 25 new apprentices each year to keep up with the attrition created by baby boomers reaching retirement, Sade said. Job and apprenticeship fairs, direct recruiting in high schools and advertising in Spanish newspapers and other non-mainstream media also help keep the pipeline open.
Carpenters Local 232 has about 80 apprentices in its four-year program, and that number is up from this time last year, said representative Tom Case. Unlike many other building trades, carpenters can enter the program by being hired directly by a contractor. So classes have a lot of different start times through the year to meet the needs of the industry.
The program gets new apprentices as young as 18 and as old as their mid-40s, Case said.
“The work ethic is 90 percent of what we need, someone to show up and do a good job,” he said.
One of the problems construction trades have faced is that a lot of the training programs once offered in high school were removed a few decades ago. With the demand for skilled workers so strong, many public schools are restoring the programs, “although it’s about 15 years too late,” Case said.
Earlier this fall, northeast Indiana was awarded a $670,148 Skill UP Indiana! grant to support training programs in the skilled trades and insurance industries. The Northeast Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council, a group of 18 trades organizations, is one of the partners in the initiative.
Counting matching funds and in-kind contributions, the investment in the programs will total $994,148. One of the significant matching contributions to the skilled trades initiative was $100,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The skilled trades initiative will develop a pre-apprenticeship program that will serve as a springboard to paid apprenticeship programs. The program will include classes in technical skills (such as workplace safety, trade-related math and hands-on experience) and employability skills (such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication). The classes are expected to serve 120 adults across the region, with a focus on ensuring a diverse group of participants.
“Trades across the region are experiencing significant difficulty in finding quality workers, especially diverse talent,” said Darryl Esterline, head of Sheet Metal Workers Local 20 and president of the region’s trades council, in the announcement of the award. “A regional feeder system that prepares people for careers in the trades is precisely what northeast Indiana needs.”
Paid apprenticeship programs allow participants to earn while they learn. Many offer the opportunity to earn an associates degree through Ivy Tech Community College Northeast in the process - without incurring a dollar of student debt.
Ivy Tech Community College Northeast Apprenticeship Fair
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 18
Ivy Tech Community College Northeast
Steel Dynamics Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center
3701 Dean Drive
- Learn how apprenticeships can teach a skilled trade while earning apprentice money
- Watch live demonstrations on skilled trades
- Meet industry representatives and learn how to become an apprentice