CCF Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week 2023

National Apprenticeship Week is a week-long, nation-wide initiative to celebrate the great opportunities available through apprenticeship.

Throughout the United States, including Minnesota, from November 13-19, 2023, construction unions, trainers, mentors, educators, government officials and more, came together to shine a light during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) on the abundance of career opportunities available to young people who enter an apprenticeship through the construction trades.

According to a recent press release from the U.S. Department of Labor, National Apprenticeship Week is, “a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for re-building our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities.”

Mahaila Houle, 26,  apprentice, IUOE Local 49

Marcus McGinley, 19, apprentice, Local 512

Kinsey Neal, 24, apprentice, Iron Workers Local 512






A construction trades registered apprenticeship provides a rigorous path for young people to enter into a rewarding, good-paying career in the construction trades after high school graduation. For students who find joy in hands-on, project-based learning, an apprenticeship through a construction union pays (yes, pays) apprentices to learn the skills necessary to advance in a construction career.

That’s why the Construction Careers Foundation (CCF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, offers apprenticeship resources all year round. Guided by a volunteer board comprised of construction-business owners, management firms, trade associations, and labor representation, the shared vision of the CCF is to motivate underrepresented youth to graduate from high school, give them the chance to explore the wide range of opportunities in the construction trades, and facilitate their entrance into careers in their chosen trade.

“Apprenticeship through a construction union offers an incredible pathway for many young people. However, it’s often overlooked in favor of attending college or joining the military,” said Mary Stuart, Associate Director of CCF. “Not every young person wants to pursue those two pathways. That’s why it’s our mission to garner awareness about the strong opportunities available in the building trades – one of which is apprenticeship through a union.”

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a proven and industry-driven training model that provides a critical talent pipeline outside of obtaining higher education or joining the military. Apprenticeship is the gateway to most construction and building trades careers. Most people enter into an apprenticeship program for their chosen trade. Similar to other careers, each apprenticeship program varies in skill and time requirements.

What are the benefits of union apprenticeship?

Earn while you learn – Get paid a solid wage and enjoy great benefits (healthcare, pension, etc.) while you learn. Though prior experience is an asset, it is not required.

Feel rewarded – When you enter into a construction apprenticeship, you get to spend your days working on a project that you can see to completion. Next time you drive by a bridge, stadium, or hospital you worked on, you get to say, “I made that.”

Stay flexible – Does the thought of spending each day working the same hours, in the same room, with the same people make you feel…claustrophobic? Don’t fret – construction apprentices spend their days in a variety of ways: indoors, outdoors, working with new folks, and during different hours. If you like flexibility and change, this just may be the pathway for you.

Get in shape – As a construction apprentice, your body is as much of a tool as anything in your toolbox. As the weeks go on, you’ll gain muscle, and increase cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of union apprenticeship.

How do I know if an apprenticeship is right for me?

Do you enjoy hands-on learning as opposed to sitting at a desk?

Do you like to know how things work?

Do you want to leave a legacy by creating something that outlives you?

Do you want to get paid while you learn a new skill?

Are you uninterested in attending a higher education institution or joining the military?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of the above questions, apprenticeship might be the right fit for you.

Apprenticeship is an earn-while-you-learn career pathway, in which apprentices are paid to learn the skills necessary to advance in their field. Though some classroom instruction is necessary, the majority of this learning happens on a real job site. Though timelines vary depending on which trade an apprentice pursues, a typical apprenticeship is between 1-5 years long. Visit CCF’s careers page for more information on registered apprenticeship by trade.

Educators, parents, and students: Resources are always available

Though National Apprenticeship Week has come and gone for 2023, resources regarding entering a career in construction through a union apprenticeship are always available. Start by visiting www.ConstructionCareers.org, where you’ll gain immediate access to:

  • Programs such as the Minnesota Trades Academy and Learn2Build that allow students to gain construction experience as a young person.
  • Information on 30+ careers in the construction trades, such as key skills, average wages, and success stories from current apprentices.
  • Direct contact to a career readiness expert. Contact Trades Navigator Charie Gill at gill@constructioncareers.org with any and all questions you may have about entering a career in construction. Are you an educator? Contact Gill to request a classroom Trades Navigator presentation.

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Construction Careers Foundation: Build Your Future

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