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Union Laborers ‘Shift Focus’ To Training High School Students

Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019
by Tyler Pletsch/The Edwardsville (Illinois) Intelligencer
Union Laborers ‘Shift Focus’ To Training High School Students

(EDWARDSVILLE, ILLINOIS) - The Illinois Laborers’ and Contractor’s Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program (ILCJATP) recently held an open house to show high school juniors and seniors what the new program has to offer.

Roughly 65 attendees gathered at the program’s training center, located at 7277 Marine Road in Edwardsville, to ask questions and hear from a few different speakers.

High school students in the Edwardsville area are now able to take part in a two-year or one-year hands-on classroom training.

The program is designed to get younger people into the workforce quicker while earning credits for high school, community college and the Laborers’ Apprenticeship Training Program.

Randy Harris, the Director of the Midwest Region of the Laborers Employers Cooperation Education Trust (LECET), talked about why the new program is being implemented: “We ‘recognize the need to get more young people involved in construction.’  The average age of our Apprentices ‘is in the mid-thirties and the average age of a Union Laborer is in the forties.’  We ‘found that a lot of people were going out and doing other things and then coming back to construction, but they should be looking at it as a career path.’  This is a ‘life-long learning and training program and it’s a great career path for young people to get into.’”

While the program has been put to the test in another district, this will be the first year for the Edwardsville area.  “We have Apprenticeship Programs ‘already in place’ and a high school program in Marian, Illinois,” Apprenticeship Coordinator Vicky McElroy said. “We ‘saw the success Marian is having and adopted the program.’”

McElroy went on to say the program will be two hours each day, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.  The first day of classes will begin on August 19th.

Juniors looking to take the classes are asked to commit to the two-year program in order to earn credits.  Seniors are able to enter the program, but will be in for one year and will be transferred into another program to finish the needed coursework and hands-on experience.

The program is not strictly for Edwardsville High School students, McElroy said, and applications are accepted from students from Triad, Highland, Roxana, and Edwardsville.

Transportation is dependent on the students.

Once the program is completed, students will then apply for the Apprenticeship Program.

While students will not come out as a full Apprentice, Harris said they will be close to it and will be dependent on where they test into.

As of right now, the class size has a limit of 15 students with two instructors and the program has seven applications from juniors and a handful of senior applications.

The classes will be taught by two full-time Laborers that are qualified through the American National Standards Institute and qualified Educators through the Illinois State Board of Education.

As of right now Marian and Edwardsville will be the only areas offering this program, however, it was announced at the open house that next year Bloomington, Illinois, will become the third test area.

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