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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Nov. 15, 2016

Apprenticeship:  A great career pathway for Minnesota's workforce

By Commissioner Ken Peterson, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Apprenticeship programs are providing great career pathways for TeVaan Paye of Minneapolis, Connor Langer of Owatonna and more than 12,000 other Minnesotans.

Apprenticeship is a centuries-old training system that combines on-the-job learning with formal classroom instruction.

A one-time high school drop-out, TeVaan completed a four-year apprenticeship with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Trades Union and is now earning $36 an hour, plus benefits, restoring buildings for Advanced Masonry in St. Paul. He’s a journeyman pointer-cleaner-caulker.

Connor has just started an apprenticeship as an industrial maintenance mechanic in his hometown with architectural glass-maker Viracon. His training is being assisted by a $5,000 grant to his employer from the Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative. It’s a U.S. Department of Labor effort run jointly by the state departments of Labor and Industry (DLI) and Employment and Economic Development. In addition to Viracon, some other employers participating in the Initiative are Fairview Health Services, Gold’n Plump and Marvin Windows.

Large and small employers like registered apprenticeship programs because they can develop the training that suits their specific business needs. Programs also help retain employees because increased wages are paid as apprentices master required job competencies.

Workers such as TeVaan and Connor like apprenticeships because they earn a wage while learning valuable skills. They receive structured on-the-job training and classroom instruction to help them gain the skills they need. When apprentices complete their program, they are given a nationally recognized certificate from DLI attesting to their skill set.

There are more than 200 apprenticeship programs operating in Minnesota. The great majority of apprentices are in the construction trades where the average starting pay is $19 an hour. However, there are also several thousand apprentices in non-construction fields. This past year, 26 new apprenticeship programs were started just in Minnesota’s manufacturing, health care and transportation sectors.

Apprenticeship works to strengthen Minnesota’s workforce. It works for employers. It worked for TeVaan and it’s working for Connor. For more information about apprenticeship, visit www.dli.mn.gov/Appr.asp.

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News media contact:
James Honerman
(651) 284-5313

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