Union Apprenticeship Programs are Paving a New Path to the Middle Class

Careers in the construction trades are increasing in demand, and as more well-trained workers rise to the occasion to fill those jobs, they’re breaking down old stigmas.

The resources made available at our school have proved to leave graduates just as well off, if not better, than their nonunion or traditional college graduate counterparts. You can learn more about what makes us different by taking a virtual tour of the 50,000-square foot FTIUM facility in Minnesota on the FTIUM website.

A recent study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) found that nonunion construction workers earned an average $18,300 less per year than their unionized counterparts. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Census Bureau, the study also showed that nonunion workers were significantly less likely to have access to health insurance or a retirement plan at work.

“Compared with two- and four-year colleges, joint labor-management apprenticeships in construction deliver a more robust training regimen, similar diversity outcomes, competitive wages and benefit levels, and comparable tax revenue for states and local governments, while leaving graduates entirely free of burdensome student loan debt,” said ILEPI Policy Director Frank Manzo IV. While FTIUM is a 2-year college, it serves students from high school, through their apprenticeship, and into the Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technologies Degree Program.

In fact, in terms of benefits and wages, graduates of union apprenticeship programs tend to compare most similarly with workers with bachelor’s or associate’s degrees. Even more interestingly, nonunion construction workers more closely resembled other workers with high school diplomas or GEDs.

To break it down by the numbers, construction apprenticeships offer up to 41 percent more hours of training than bachelor’s programs at public universities, and a whopping 183 percent more than associate degrees at community colleges

This research also found that compared to public universities, joint-labor management programs enrolled a more diverse force of trainees, which has been proven to lead to higher pay. 

Producing graduates that are properly trained helps to raise the standards of safety for the overall industry, meets the increasing need for finishing trade workers, and presents a much greater group of people with the opportunity to pave their own path to the middle class, by their own means. 

Gone are the days where the only path to good-paying jobs and family-sustaining benefits was with a college degree. Visit https://ftium.edu/ to learn more.