Both the unionized and non-unionized segments of the construction industry offer apprenticeship programs. Before applying, it is important to understand the differences between the two apprenticeship models.
There are more than thirty union-affiliated construction apprenticeship programs in Minnesota. Each are funded through a cents-per-hour worked contribution from employers that are negotiated through collective bargaining agreements. These contributions ensure stable financing for the Joint-Labor Management apprenticeship system which trains more than 93% of all active apprentices in Minnesota. Collectively, Minnesota’s unionized construction sector provides the “largest privately-financed system of higher education in the state.
It is estimated that “the 10 largest joint labor management construction apprenticeship programs in Minnesota’s construction industry provide more than $600 million in long-run economic value – an economic return of $21 per dollar invested.”
In comparison, the non-union apprenticeship system is funded via voluntary contributions from employers or trade associations, with curriculum unilaterally determined and administered. While there are several such programs in Minnesota, it is a comparatively smaller system because of the lack of an institutional financing mechanism like collective bargaining.