Via We Party Patriots: Right- and Left-Leaning Publications Omit Unions from Apprenticeship Articles Despite Massive Investment

July 24, 2014

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the benefits of apprenticeships, noting the positive effect they have on the careers of those who participate.  The article seeks to provide examples of those who have benefited from apprenticeship across numerous fields, but it does so while ignoring union apprenticeships entirely. This despite unions being a cornerstone of training in the skilled trades and a provider of far greater numbers of apprentices than the efforts described by WSJ.

As the American workforce continues to undergo drastic changes, apprenticeship programs of all types, both union and nonunion, are needed to meet the demands of the future.  According to a study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, there will be a glaring lack of technical certificates and credentials necessary to succeed in high-growth, high-demand industries. The United States will be 5 million workers short in this regard, the study suggests.

WSJ gives the specific example of Dakota Blazier, an 18-year-old who began his path towards apprenticeship while still in high school.  When the young man from a small town north of Indianapolis decided he did not want to attend college, apprenticeship became his focus:

I discovered a long time ago,” he explained, “I’m not book smart. I don’t like sitting still, and I learn better when the problem is practical.” But he didn’t feel this limited his options—to the contrary. And he was executing a plan as purposeful as that of any of his high-school peers.

It started in his junior year with release time from high school to take a course in basic construction skills at a craft training center run by the Associated Builders and Contractors. The next step was an internship with a local contractor, Gaylor Electric.

This summer, he’s at Gaylor full time, earning $10 an hour plus credits he can apply at the ABC training center, where he intends to return this fall for a four-year apprenticeship. Mr. Blazier, 18, beamed as he explained his plan. This was no fallback, no desperate Hail Mary pass. It was a thoughtful choice—and he was as proud and excited as if he were heading off to the Ivy League.

Apprenticeship is an excellent choice and the proper apprenticeship can lead to amazing career opportunities.  However, omitted from the article is the fact that those who join union apprenticeships (the ABC is a staunchly anti-union organization) are 17 percent more likely to complete their apprenticeship than those who choose the non-union path.

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