Earning while learning: Apprenticeships build careers, communities

Delaware Voice – Gregory Furtaw & James Maravelias
Published 4:47 p.m. ET – April 5, 2017

Many communities in the state of Delaware were established with families who worked old fashioned blue collar jobs in manufacturing, construction and the trades.

We remember how these blue collar jobs offered families stability by offering individuals – most, if not all, without college degrees – middle-class wages, health insurance, and a pension. Plus, these jobs provided an extra benefit when the wages earned through these jobs stayed in the community when families shopped, ate, and supported local businesses. Finally, these jobs offered a path to a career and an opportunity to a middle-class lifestyle for several generations.

We are not being nostalgic over a time that has passed. On the contrary, the model that built local communities and lifted generations of families into the middle-class through blue collar job opportunities still exist. Although not quite as visible as in the past, there is a current demand in Delaware for skilled tradespeople in construction, industrial and commercial maintenance, and manufacturing.

Today, we must look to sustain and expand a critical component that fueled these blue collar jobs – an apprenticeship system that produces qualified, Delaware workers.

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