Letter: Apprenticeship programs enhance safety, create opportunities

The North Dakota Safety Council calls this blended learning, hands on exercises combined with classroom instruction.The governor has proclaimed November as Registered Apprenticeship Awareness month. This proclamation, in conjunction with the Depa...

The North Dakota Safety Council calls this blended learning, hands on exercises combined with classroom instruction.

The governor has proclaimed November as Registered Apprenticeship Awareness month. This proclamation, in conjunction with the Department of Labor's National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14-20, is to reintroduce an educational model that has been around for centuries but has been overlooked in recent years. An apprenticeship program can address the needs of industries while training a Labor force for a career without burdensome college debt.

The North Dakota Building Trades Unions is made make up fifteen affiliates. Each affiliate has invested and developed their own apprenticeship programs registered with the Department of Labor. Each apprentice will be taught the skills of the trade through a combination of on-the-job learning and technical instruction. This takes about the same amount of time as a typical four year degree; however there is no need to take large amounts of college loans to pay for these programs. Many of them are inexpensive or have no cost at all. For every year the apprentice progresses in the program, they can expect to earn a ten percent increase in pay. All the while, they will be accruing benefits like medical insurance and retirement. With completion of the program, the apprentice then becomes a journeyperson, opening them up to a world of possibilities.

From foundation to finish, the building trades unions have an educational system that invests in young people to build the needed infrastructure of America. To get more information about Apprenticeship Week, go to the website www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/NAW/ and to find more about the North Dakota Building Trades Unions access www.ndbtu.org.

Ehlert is president of the North Dakota Building Trades Unions.