Minnesota Educators: Help Increase Awareness About Local Apprenticeship Programs

When talking about post-secondary education opportunities with your students, are you giving trade schools and apprenticeship programs the same weight as college or military service?

Understanding the language of the trades Journeyworker = Bachelor’s Degree

Journeyworker is a title earned in construction when a person has mastered the skills and competencies required for a specific occupation, such as electrician, pipefitter or plumber. In construction, these skills are built and recognized by certificates and licenses, in addition to the completion of a registered apprenticeship program.

“Earning a college degree, typically takes between three to five years — the same time required for a construction apprentice to earn journeyworker status,” said Associate Director for the Construction Careers Foundation Mary Stuart. “For example, in Minnesota, it takes three to five years to become a pipefitter, and four years to become an ironworker.”

Postsecondary education to reach journeyworker status includes both on-the-job and in-person lectures, testing, and training.

However, education in the trades doesn’t have to end at journeyworker. Just as some people seek out higher education in the form of a master’s program, construction professionals can earn the title of master craftsperson with an additional few years of training and testing.

“The Construction Careers Foundation is working directly with local high schools throughout the Twin Cities metro area to raise awareness of the 30+ construction trade career paths our state has to offer,” Stuart said. “The trades literally build the world around us and we want to offer students insight on apprenticeship so they can decide if it may be a better fit than college.”

Resources for Understanding Apprenticeship

In Minnesota, the Twin Cities nonprofit Construction Careers Foundation offers an apprenticeship breakdown for young people and guardians. A visit to the Careers page, provides information about each available apprenticeship program, wages, benefits, and information on how a student can build skills for a construction career in high school.

Just as important as understanding the training and education requirements for apprenticeship is knowing that within each career in construction there are multiple pathways for individuals to advance to senior management. As shown in NCCER’s interactive career pathways chart, apprenticeships provide similar career advancement opportunities to those with college degrees, and, in fact, more people in the construction industry go from an entry-level job to CEO or owner of their own company than any other industry.

Now is the Time to Choose a Career in Construction

“It’s imperative that we talk about apprenticeship as a  valuable education and career pathway – because it is,” Stuart said. “Not only does it provide another choice for young people other than college or military service, but our construction industry faces a growing skills gap with current professionals retiring.”









Source: Construction Labor Market Analyzer, 2022.

Educators, mentors, and guardians – if you have additional questions about careers in Minnesota’s construction industry or how to get your students started in exploring careers in construction contact Construction Career Foundation Program Manager Lindsay Tallman, lindsay@constructioncareers.org.