Another four-year degree: apprenticeships are key to a vibrant New Jersey economy

During National Apprenticeship Week, November 12-18, New Jersey, like the rest of the world, will recognize that it needs a highly skilled workforce to successfully tackle its enormous infrastructure needs. is important.

Today, across our state, there are many new industrial and public infrastructure projects to follow. Projects like this offer a unique opportunity for New Jersey residents. Especially since these jobs have higher salaries and benefits.

But does New Jersey have the highly skilled workforce to undertake today’s projects, let alone the projects of tomorrow?

The answer is yes. New Jersey can supply the skilled artisan labor needed today and tomorrow.

And it’s because of the continued commitment and investment by the Building Workers’ Union of New Jersey and its signatory contractors in a robust and comprehensive skilled craftsman apprenticeship training infrastructure.

Apprenticeship training benefits the state’s private and public sectors by providing the world’s most qualified and qualified workforce. More importantly, graduates of these apprenticeships are put squarely on the path to middle class and achieving the American Dream.

These men and women are trained for careers in the construction industry and therefore receive good wages and benefits. Also, training is free in the “earn while learning” program. , but they also keep the program debt-free.

New Jersey’s building unions and affiliated contractors invest more than $100 million each year in training. This is personal money, not taxpayer money. It comes from donations by members and contractors who recognize the intrinsic value of the need to train the next generation of skilled craft professionals.

Additionally, our union recently placed 800 veterans in an apprenticeship program through New Jersey’s Helmet to Helmet program. Many of these transitioning military personnel are women and minorities.

We also launched a statewide YTTW (Youth Transitions to Work) program. This exposes high school graduates who do not wish to attend a four-year college to excellent career options.

In addition, individuals enrolled in the Registered Building Apprenticeship Program may also convert their apprenticeship training hours into college credit. In some cases, you can earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. This is why our training is often viewed as an ‘other four-year degree’.

Today, construction unions work together to ensure that apprenticeship training opportunities empower historically underserved communities, including minorities, women and veterans in transition. I am working on it.

As President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plans move forward, the demand for skilled craftsmen across all industries will rise.

In addition to infrastructure and private sector investments, participation in world-class apprenticeship training in the construction industry creates avenues of opportunity for hard-working individuals across the state.

As large-scale construction projects progress, we must continue to invest in our employees. These investments, coupled with strong standards such as common wage laws and community benefit agreements, ensure that a growing number of infrastructure projects help American workers thrive.

Simple. An investment in infrastructure is an investment in America’s middle class.

William T. Mullen is president of the New Jersey Building and Construction Industry Council.

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