The Value and Potential of Apprenticeships

Despite the number of benefits and opportunities available, the commercial construction industry has a labor shortage problem, and it’s becoming an increasingly alarming situation. The current shortage has been pegged at north of 650,000 workers needed to fulfill the number of open positions. Thanks to the new federal infrastructure deal, there’s plenty of work to be found. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees hit $32.19 in May of this year; that’s a 6.3% increase year-over-year, marking the highest gain in over four decades. Yet none of these factors have made so much as a dent in the problem, which is a concern the president of the Home Builders Institute Ed Brady recently described as reaching a “crisis level.”

So, what gives? And is it possible that even the smallest of initiatives could be the solution we’ve been waiting for? Perhaps. Let’s discuss the value and potential of apprenticeships.

What is an Apprenticeship?

The potential talent pool of unskilled workers is immense and diverse. While some commercial construction jobs will always be classified as unskilled, the career-minded candidates must go through training to reach skilled worker status, and one of the best ways to get there is through an apprenticeship. Essentially, an apprenticeship acts as on-the-job training where employees can gain the specialized skills – and even the credentials and certifications – that they need to command a high paying job worthy of a decent living. Oh, and did we mention it’s also a paid opportunity?

Programs Both Public and Private

Training the unskilled labor force into skilled workers is how the trade industries have survived and thrived over the years. Candidates willing to put in the work can rely on both public and private assistance to get there. Potential employees can start at the virtual bottom of the industry, but also have the potential to earn college credits and even degrees. Recent legislation has also taken dead aim at the problem, as the Training America’s Workforce Act would direct the Department of Labor to refocus its effort on industry approved apprenticeship programs. Help is also readily available at the local level, and it’s industry specific in nature. In the past year, the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute (RMMI) launched a pre-apprenticeship course that’s free to anyone who’d like to seek a career. It’s known as the Fast Track Apprenticeship Program, and consists of online learning, hands-on instruction, and on-the-job training. RMMI even offers a feeder program to capture potential employees at the high school level, the Future Leaders initiative, where they recruit at multiple events and career fairs.

College Isn’t for Everyone

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that college isn’t for everyone. The astronomically rising costs of tuition, coupled with a lifetime of school loans and no guaranteed jobs, has made apprenticeships much more appealing as of late. At Phoenix Masonry, we believe candidates can enjoy a lengthy and fulfilling career as a skilled mason and offer an apprenticeship program of our own. One item of note – masonry is a trade where the harder you work, the more money you make. At Phoenix Masonry, you can become an employee who takes pride in your work, enjoys seeing the results of your labor, and earn a really good living while you’re at it.

If you’d like to know more about apprenticeship programs – public or private – we invite you to contact us or visit the Careers page on the Phoenix Masonry website. Our full-time employees enjoy the perks of any white-collar jobs, including benefits, paid time-off and holidays, and a 401(k) retirement plan. Whether you’re a soon to graduate high school student, or considering a career transition to something more stable, Phoenix Masonry is always looking for the next outstanding employee. We invite you to participate in our apprenticeship program and begin your new journey in commercial construction. You can start by filling out this brief job application (also available in Spanish).

In an industry that’s a half a million employees short of a full labor force, a free apprenticeship means that the terms downsizing and layoffs are two words you may never have to hear again.