Construction Apprenticeships: Your Path to Success

As a construction apprentice, you aren’t just training for a job, you’re building a career. Technical instruction with on-the-job training equips you with the industry-specific knowledge you need to perform highly skilled work in Minnesota’s construction industry.

In August 2019, 144,575 professionals were employed in Minnesota’s construction sector, according to a Minnesota Employment and Economic Development snapshot. In 2019 alone, construction grew faster than any other sector in Minnesota.

Secondary Education Planning and COVID-19

Many Minnesota high school graduates are unsure if college is the right path for them, especially when it comes to paying thousands of dollars for classes that may go online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across all U.S. colleges and universities, freshman enrollment has dropped more than 16 percent from last year, with declines in every region and at nearly every type of institution, reported the New York times in October 2020.

However, Minnesota’s construction union leadership and training centers are reaching out to high school students to supply critical education apprenticeship opportunities for students seeking to start a career right after high school and earn a living wage through skills training.

“With COVID-19 restrictions and safety regulations in place at the training centers and made available on union websites and apprenticeship applications, the pathway for apprenticeship still means young people will have the opportunity for a hands-on education — just with safety procedures, social distancing and smaller class sizes in place,” Lechowich said.

For example, the Minneapolis Plumbers JATC takes applications for both the Minneapolis and St. Cloud apprenticeship programs from January 4 – 28, 2021. The union’s website is updated to include COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines including social distancing measures and masking to be followed when filling out applications. Other locals have replaced in-person testing and applications with virtual trainings and online formats.

“Starting an apprenticeship with Local 15 is the beginning of a career,” said Trevor Ogilvie, Minneapolis Plumbers JATC Training Director. “Especially during a pandemic — finding work or starting a career is challenging. Through union work, apprentices earn a salary as they train, and classroom instruction only requires a small fee or is covered.”

A student holds lines of shingles for his teammates to staple down. For many young people, the first step to a career in the construction trades is being able to explore tools and design. PC: Karin Ellefson *Pre-COVID19


Careers in the skilled trades are challenging, exciting and rewarding. A career in the skilled trades allows you to focus on your future one that’s high paying, engaging and community focused. Apprenticeship will teach you real-world skills in an industry that gives young people an advantage through solid benefits:

Upon completion of your apprenticeship, you earn a nationally recognized credential in a highly skilled, in-demand occupation of your choice. Some trades require apprentices to pass licensing exams, which allows you to work in multiple states or be registered within Minnesota.

Skills pay the bills. As an apprentice, you will earn a good living while you master in-demand skills. You are actively employed and earning an income on day one as you train in your occupation by your employer. Your wages continue to grow as you master your training. Find your path and explore more than 30 construction careers at Constructioncareers.org.

Earn higher wages and receive better benefits with a stable career in the trades. Your employer-provided premium health insurance will keep you covered without making you feel strapped for cash. All benefits are beyond your hourly wage, so it won’t come out of your paycheck.

Innovation leads the way in the construction industry. Technology shapes how construction professionals do their jobs and helps bring complex projects to life.

No two projects are ever alike, keeping the work exciting. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to grow and advance through continued education and training opportunities.

Actively build your community — literally! Vision and teamwork combine in the building trades to create a lasting legacy you can be proud to show your family and friends.

ConstructionCareers.org offers an interest form for youth interested in pursuing an apprenticeship as their next career step. A trades navigator or representative will in turn contact the student with next steps toward apprenticeship and can connect students with existing apprenticeship programs and employers.

Educators and students should resource ConstructionCareers.org to view video interviews of real Minnesota construction workers and learn about 30 different careers in construction. Check out the Careers page to read about each careers’ wages, apprenticeship offerings, key skills and benefits.