Building Better Lives through Union Apprenticeship Programs

Working at a retail job she found “boring,” Lindsay Gustafson used to live from “paycheck to paycheck.” She worried that, “If anything ever happened to me, I would have been in major trouble.”

Jobs with Health & Pension Coverage. But then she enrolled in a joint labor-management apprenticeship program, becoming a licensed union plumber at the MGM resort-casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a single mom, she can now support her two-year-old daughter and enjoys the security of health and pension benefits.

New Opportunities for Women. Gustafson is one of many women who have found better-paying jobs in construction through the Northeast Center for Tradeswomen’s Equity (NCTE), which works with unions and employers to open new opportunities for training and employment. For instance, Contina Brooks, another woman actively promoting the program, now works as a union operating engineer at the MGM site after having struggled to earn a living in the social services field.

Throughout the Economy. These workers are among millions of women and men who are participating in union education, career training, and professional-development programs in sectors from construction to the auto, steel, aerospace, retail, and telecommunications industries, as well as teaching, healthcare, and state and local governments.

Real Preparation for Real Jobs. These programs have proven records at training and placing workers because unions and employers know what skills and credentials jobs require—and also which occupations are in demand. Few participants are left asking the all-too-common question, “Training for what?”