For the third year in a row, Nov. 13-19 is celebrated as National Apprenticeship Week. During this week, leaders across the country will be highlighting the benefits of apprenticeships and the need for more students to join the trades.
Statistics on the need for a trained workforce are overwhelming — in the United States, there will be 6.1 million jobs in the construction industry by 2021 and 1.5 million craft professionals will be needed to fill them. Skilled craft positions remain the hardest job to fill in the U.S. and globally. In Iowa, we are hearing the same message – employers across the state routinely say it’s hard to hire enough skilled workers.
At Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa we are working to train more apprentices than ever before to help close the skills gap. As the largest apprenticeship organization in Iowa, this year we will train roughly 1,500 apprentices across our three campuses in Grimes, Hiawatha and Davenport.
Our students are taught proper safety courses and specific skills in the areas of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sheet metal, millwright, insulation, laborer and electronic systems technicians. Students graduate from our programs having real work experience, no educational debt, a job and more importantly, a highly sought after skill.
ABC of Iowa is also working to change the perception of careers in the trades for the next generation. Our new virtual reality trailer hits the road this week, and will be making stops throughout the year at high schools and events across Iowa to help educate, motivate and inspire young people (and their parents) on the ever-changing world of trades.
In our current economy the university path does not guarantee a path toward financial success. Rising education costs and a shrinking job market has resulted in a decrease of availability for professional jobs. Instead, 57 percent of jobs will require skilled training in 2018 and careers like electricians are in high demand and expected to grow 2 percent annually in Iowa alone.
The world is changing and so are the jobs that matter. There has never been greater opportunity for those seeking a rewarding path in a skilled trade, where one can enter the workforce right away as an apprentice, get paid to learn career skills on the job and even work toward owning their own business.
We’re happy to celebrate the value of apprentices Nov. 13-19, and every week throughout the year.
Vice President of Education & Training
Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa