House Bill 98 Can Help Building Trades Recruit at High Schools

Cleveland area students learn about the Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship program.

Thanks to a recent vote in the Ohio House, apprenticeship recruiting in Ohio’s public high schools may become easier for unions affiliated with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades.

House Bill 98, the Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act, which gives equal opportunity for representatives from colleges and universities, the armed forces, skilled trades, businesses and charitable organizations to present information on future career and post-graduate opportunities to high school students, was passed by a members in a unanimous vote.

Iron Worker Apprentice Contest

An Iron Worker Apprentice talks with one of the judges during a 2016 apprentice contest held in Cleveland. H.B. 98 can help Iron Workers Local 17 and all other CBCTC affiliated unions recruit high school students into their apprenticeship program.

HB 98, which has received support from numerous Building Trade Councils and their affiliated JATCs, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and manufacturing companies, now moves to the Senate for possible committee hearings and a floor vote. If passed by the Senate, it will become law and give the building trades more access to public schools to speak directly to students about careers in the building trades.

Under current Ohio law, Ohio high schools can refuse access for nearly all recruiters, leaving public universities, trade schools and military recruiters without an appeal process.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6 Director of Training George Boots believes this bill will not only help the trades, but will open up communication between parents, students and the trades.

“Students know nothing about the building trades, as most schools have dropped their vocational training in hopes that all their students go to college,” said Boots. “If we open the communication with the students, I hope that the students will go home and talk to their parents.”

He feels it is important for the trades to tell students that there is an alternative to college and debunk any myths they may hear about a career in the union construction industry.

If the Senate passes the bill, then public schools must give the building trades two opportunities a year to talk about the opportunities of an apprenticeship. Not all students can afford to go to college and the opportunity to earn and learn through a building trades apprenticeship offers students the ability to begin an in-demand career and avoid massive college debt.

“This bill will provide Ohio students the opportunity to learn about career opportunities immediately available upon graduation,” said Kristen Boggs (D-Columbus), one of the bill’s sponsors.  “As college costs soar, it’s incredibly important for young adults to know all of their options so they can construct a pathway to success that best fits their life.”

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