Illinois’ Construction Apprenticeship Programs Return $11 in Total Benefits for Every Dollar Invested


Published by Frank Manzo IV
AUGUST 24, 2016

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois finds that apprenticeship programs have significant positive social and economic impacts in Illinois.

Construction is the fastest-growing industry in Illinois. Over the next decade, the construction industry is projected to grow at twice the pace of the overall state economy, adding thousands of new jobs. All of the fastest-growing trades in Illinois’s construction industry require at least 3 years of apprenticeship training.

For many young Illinois workers, enrolling in a registered apprenticeship program is a better option than attending college or university. The annual income gain from participating in a registered apprenticeship program is $3,442 on average, greater than the average effect of having an associate’s degree and many bachelor’s degrees- including social work, English language and composition, and linguistics and foreign languages.

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(PDF Copy of Study)

L&I settles $200,000 claim against Whatcom County Jail contractor

October 2, 2014

Bellingham – A contractor renovating the Whatcom County Jail has paid nearly $200,000 in back wages owed to 13 workers on the project.

Sierra Detention Systems, of Brighton, Colo., paid the money following a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries investigation, which was spurred by a January worker complaint. The company paid lower apprenticeship wages to electricians.

“We don’t know whether the company’s intent was to avoid paying the higher journeyman wage,” said Jim Christensen, Prevailing Wage Program manager for the agency, who noted this was a first-time offense for the firm. “In this case, the employees were doing the work of electricians and were not part of any state-registered apprenticeship program.”

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Sep 18, 2014 | Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, along with Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment Act (PACE Act), a new bill that would support greater development of registered apprenticeship programs. The PACE Act would help prepare more highly skilled workers for in-demand industries and occupations through heightened awareness of and participation in registered apprenticeship programs.

The PACE Act would better integrate apprenticeships into postsecondary education programs and expand apprenticeship opportunities to new areas, particularly those professions dominated by women. As such, this legislation would promote new career pathways and greater economic security for women and their families.

“This legislation provides workers and job seekers with better access to employment, education, training, and support programs to help them secure good, well-paying jobs,” said Representative Mark Pocan. “It will also improve opportunities for businesses by ensuring hard-working Americans have the skills necessary for today’s most in-demand industries and occupations. Business leaders want this. Hardworking Americans need this. Everyone benefits when our middle class thrives.”

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California Colleges Reaping the Local Hiring Benefits of Hard-Fought Project Labor Agreement

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) covering up to $500 million of construction at Riverside City, Moreno Valley and Norco colleges has surpassed its local hiring goals. The projects are partially funded through California’s Measure C bonds with the state and federal government providing matching funding.

The use of a PLA was heavily contested, but building trades union advocates and their mission of ensuring local hire ultimately prevailed:

Since the agreement was adopted in 2010 on a 3-2 vote, 65 percent of workers have come from Riverside and San Bernardino counties and 54 percent of participating businesses have been local, according to a presentation prepared by Padilla & Associates, which administers the agreement for $1.6 million.

The five-year agreement requires contractors to pay union-level wages and benefits, sets a local hiring goal of 50 percent and requires apprenticeship programs. Workers from Riverside County get first priority followed by workers from San Bernardino County.

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OSHA Accepting Susan Harwood Training Grant Applications

OSHA announced it is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, with $7 million available for non-profit organizations, including community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, management associations, colleges, and universities.

According to OSHA, the program supports the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The program awards two types of grants: Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building. Each grant fund will have approximately $3.5 million in funding.

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Stalemate at Metropolitan Sewer District – Ohio

At $3.2 billion and an estimated 15- to 20-year time frame for completion, Cincinnati’s project to retrofit and replace its sewers is one of the most expansive in the city’s history. But the sewer project, which is part of a mandate from the federal government, is now facing major hurdles as the city and county dispute how contracts for the project should be awarded and whether the government should be more involved in dictating how contractors train their employees.

Most recently, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners put an unprecedented funding hold on all sewer projects until Cincinnati changes its “responsible bidder” law, which City Council unanimously passed in June 2012 and modified in May this year.

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