A growing number of Minnesota students are taking construction and building trades courses in high school. While the courses may be a fun or new alternative to other classes offered, the Construction Careers Foundation, a Twin Cities nonprofit, is taking the classroom experience a step further and connecting with students, educators and parents to present a variety of rewarding careers in the state’s construction industry.
Apprenticeships are immediate educational pathways for students eager to start a career right after high school earning great benefits and high pay.
The apprenticeship model empowers students to take their creativity, math, science and communication skills and directly apply them to the worksite while working with their hands.
In high school, students are often pushed toward colleges and universities as the next step. This pathway to a career requires taking out substantial student loans and eventually paying that debt back after building years of interest. There are other options that don’t require accumulating debt.
“Most Minnesota-based apprenticeships come at little-to-no cost to the student and the student earns while they learn a skillset,” said Sarah Lechowich senior director of the Construction Careers Foundation, which coordinates Construction Career Pathways, a statewide initiative to attract more young people into Minnesota’s construction industry. “This is an upfront investment of time and mentorship from the union and a huge financial benefit to the student.”
The commitment to investing in the success of their apprentices by Minnesota’s construction and building trades unions and building contractors starts the first day of an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships are a direct path into a rewarding career – the route to becoming a journeyperson in the construction trades industry requires determination, participation and a commitment to showing up every day and getting the job done right.
Here’s to showing up and getting the job done right. Get paid to learn lifelong skills through a construction apprenticeship.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare yourself for an apprenticeship:
1. Apprenticeship training is no walk in the park – you’re expected to take your training seriously, and throughout the apprenticeship you will prove your skills to educators and contractors through on the job training evaluations and classroom skills and knowledge tests.
2. Apprenticeships require dedication to learning the craft. Even with familiarity with construction materials or tools, an apprentice can expect to spend a minimum of 144 hours in the classroom and complete at least 1,800 total hours of on the job training.
3. Some trades require licenses. Getting a professional license or certification usually means additional studying and final exams – earning a license gives you an advantage over competition, improves your skills and recognizes your hard work and ability.
4. A lot of the skills required to complete an apprenticeship are also what you need to complete a university degree such as critical thinking, logic and problem solving. Apprentices need to have a wide range of knowledge on a variety of subjects as well as a broad knowledge of construction tools and materials.
5. The truth is, being an apprentice is hard work. It’s not like an office job where you sit at a desk for hours and barely see the light of day. One of the best parts of being an apprentice and eventually a journeyworker is that your ‘office’ is constantly changing, and you’ll never be chained to one place for too long.
6. There will be long days, but that doesn’t mean a career in construction is not worth it. The physical labor might be tough, but the satisfaction of getting it done will be worth it, and you’ll be learning a lot of important and valuable skills along the way.
To learn more about registered apprenticeships offered by Minnesota’s construction and building trades unions, visit ConstructionCareers.org, where you obtain detailed information about 30 different career paths.