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4 Reasons to Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week


In addition to laying the ground for a future generation of skilled craftsmen, apprenticeships provide a number of financial and qualitative benefits to the industry that are often taken for granted.

By Mark Colangelo

As we mark the 9th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), let’s recognize the role of apprenticeships in building a skilled workforce, and the contributions of construction unions in funding and operating apprenticeship programs. Such programs are a key differentiator between union and non-union construction, making union crews the most efficient and highest quality option. Across the five boroughs, construction unions are celebrating NAW with recruitment drives and other events. Let’s dive into four reasons to celebrate apprenticeships:

Safer Job Sites

Safety training is core to union apprenticeships. Union apprentices are thoroughly trained in safety protocols, the difference between life and death on construction sites where lethal dangers lurk in all directions. This helps explain why nearly all construction fatalities in NYC occur on non-union job sites. Making it home safe from work everyday is certainly a reason to celebrate.

Filling the Skilled Labor Gap

Union-led apprenticeship programs, such as those offered by the LiUNA Training Center, provide comprehensive training that blends hands-on work with classroom education. This ensures that crucial skills are passed down to a new generation of workers and creates a pipeline of highly skilled labor. As the industry continues to struggle with an unprecedented shortage of workers, such training programs are more important than ever. 

...crucial skills are passed down to a new generation creating a pipeline of highly skilled labor.

Protecting Our Skyline

The rigorous training and standards upheld by union apprentices lead to higher quality construction across the city. This means safer buildings and less headaches for those who live, work and own real estate in New York City.  Without union apprenticeship programs, things can go sideways quickly.

Greener Buildings and a More Sustainable Future

Union apprenticeships are spearheading the green building revolution by training workers on cutting edge, eco-friendly tools, techniques and materials. These new methods touch every aspect of the building process, from clean concrete foundations to energy efficient windows. As a result, union apprentices are fighting global warming and turning the Big Apple green, one building at a time.

With all the valuable contributions apprenticeship programs make to our workforce, our country and our skyline, what can everyday New Yorkers do to help support these valuable programs? One simple action anyone shopping for real estate can take is to ask their real estate agents: “who built this building?”


Mark Colangelo is a writer and blogger.

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