In 2007, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Standing Committee on Apprenticeship and Training created a multi-craft training curriculum for use in Building Trades’ Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (ARPs.) Building Trades ARPs were designed to prepare interested young people and transitioning adults to enter and succeed in registered apprenticeship programs, which are gateways to good middle-class jobs in the US construction industry. The more than 150 ARPs across the US are sponsored by State and Local Building Trades Councils. Training Coordinators and Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATCs) are in partnership with local community groups, construction contractors, government agencies, and schools.
The goals of the Building Trades ARPs are to:
1. Increase the diversity of qualified candidates for apprenticeships across all crafts;
2. Increase the diversity of apprenticeship candidates by recruiting minorities and veterans; and
3. Increase the retention rate among apprentices by providing them with a deeper understanding of both the industry and the role of craft unions in construction.
The educational foundation for the Building Trades ARPs is the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3)- a standardized, comprehensive, 120-hour construction curriculum designed to help young people and transitioning adults choose and succeed in an apprenticeship program that is appropriate for them. In 2012, the US Department of Labor recognized the MC3 with its Registered Apprenticeship Innovator and Trailblazer Award. The MC3 Curriculum consists of nine units:
1. Construction Industry Orientation
2. Tools and Materials
3. Construction Health and Safety
4. Blueprint Reading
5. Basic Math for Construction
6. Heritage of the American Worker
7. Diversity in the Construction Industry
8. Green Construction
9. Financial Literacy
All MC3 programs must contain a minimum of 120 classroom hours. The 104 hour core is required for all programs. Building Trades Council representatives and their partners may add additional hours to the MC3 at their discretion.
Why a construction apprenticeship?
A construction apprenticeship dramatically increases a young person’s standard of living. Apprentices can earn up to 60 percent of the wages that licensed and trained construction professionals make- WHILE they receive their training. According to the US Department of Labor, the average annual wage for someone who completed an apprenticeship is approximately $50,000. Apprentices who complete their program earn approximately $300,000 more over the course of their careers than non-apprenticeship participants.
Apprentices receive high quality hands-on training and classroom education – with NO student debt. Unlike college, students work full-time while being trained for a well-paid construction trade and there is no cost for the training- meaning no student debt! Because of the demand for skilled workers, Building Trades contractors and their union partners have invested heavily in education and training for registered apprenticeship. The Building Trades and their signatory contract partners invest over $1 billion annually in apprenticeship and journey-level training. Apprentices accumulate hundreds of hours of training both in the classroom and on the job- where they are taught and supervised by certified and highly-trained construction apprenticeship trainers.
Construction Apprenticeship: “The Other Four Year Degree”
The safest, most highly skilled and productive construction craft workers in the US receive their training through privately funded. Local joint apprenticeship and training committees (JATCs), which offer nationally recognized, state-of-the-art curricula. The Building Trades Apprenticeship programs are “earn while you learn” training programs- and they have all been assessed for college credit. Many Building Trades apprenticeship programs also have articulation agreements with local community colleges. Once students compete their apprenticeship, they have skills, nationally-recognized certifications, and college credits they can take anywhere in the country. Construction Apprentices have long-term prospects for good paying jobs- with health and retirement benefits.
Among construction apprentices, 75% are trained in the unionized construction sector- known as the joint apprentice training committee (JATC) system. Apprentices are given real world, in-depth, on the job training that teaches them cutting-edge skills and the means of implement them across their careers. Construction jobs can’t be outsourced or sent overseas- and the long term outlook for construction job growth in the US is very favorable. Great job prospects in construction for skilled trades workers means that apprentices have opportunities for long term, middle class careers immediately after joining the work force.
What Would I Learn in High School That Would Prepare Me For A Construction Apprenticeship?
The Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) is a comprehensive pre-apprenticeship training curriculum. It was developed and approved by the Building Trades National Apprenticeship and Training Committee in 2008. In 2012, the US Department of Labor awarded the Building Trades and the MC3 the Department’s Registered Apprenticeship Innovator and Trailblazer Award at its 75thAnniversary celebration. The MC3 connects two high quality education systems: America’s secondary schools and the Building Trades registered apprenticeship programs. If a student completes the MC3 and join a registered apprenticeship program, they will join one of the largest privately-funded workforce development systems in the nation.
For more information on the Sangamon County Regional Office of Education MC3 Program, please contact Katie McCarthy at 217.753.6620. You can also visit www.nabtu.org.
Check out the Sangamon County MC3 Facebook page here.