Union Apprenticeships: The Bachelor’s Degrees of the Construction Industry

Graduating college is not the only pathway to economic security and upward mobility for American workers. Through registered apprenticeship programs, the construction industry enables blue-collar workers to achieve middle class lifestyles. However, not all construction apprenticeship programs operate the same way. While outcomes for participants in joint labor-management (or union) apprenticeship programs rival those for college graduates and the programs account for the vast majority of construction apprentices in the United States, employer-only (or nonunion) apprenticeship programs generally produce labor market outcomes that are on par with national averages for high school graduates.