The Cleveland Building Trades celebrated National Apprentice Week with students in pre-apprenticeship programs at an event held at Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Union Hall and Training Center.
Students from Max Hayes Vocational High School, Cuyahoga Community College and the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center met with members of various trades, toured Local 33’s Training Center and listened to several individuals speak – including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
This year, the Obama Administration created National Apprenticeship Week in hopes of introducing more Americans to the idea of apprenticeships and its benefits at the “other four-year degree.”
“This is a big deal for the President to recognize this part of the construction economy,” said Jackson.
The Mayor pointed out that in Cleveland, roughly a billion dollars is spent per year in total construction costs. The Community Benefits Agreement the City signed with the Cleveland Building Trades has helped Clevelander construction workers who carry a union card work on jobs within the city, which helps recirculate that billion back into the local economy.
Apprentices who stay the course and do not waste their opportunity for a good life will continue to open the door for others, Jackson stated.
“If you succeed, you’ll be able to provide opportunities for those who come behind you,” the Mayor said.
Dave Wondolowski, Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, told the audience that in Cleveland, the affiliated building trades spend nearly $7 million per year training apprentices.
“We provide the American dream through our training centers,” Wondolowski told the audience.
Apprenticeships within the building trades give men and women an opportunity to live in the middle class.
Those who enter apprenticeships earn while they learn. In addition to making a livable wage and avoiding costly college tuition, apprentices are also eligible for health and retirement benefits through their trade.