There were not any cap and gowns or rolled up diplomas, but 257 new graduates were recently honored at a ceremony in Des Moines. Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa is the largest construction apprenticeship program in the state, and proudly trained more than 1,400 skilled workers this year, including these 257, the largest graduating class we’ve ever had.
At ABC, we know not all students should graduate high school and be pushed on for a four-year degree. There are so many talented graduates who are better suited for a life in the skilled trades, and that starts with apprenticeship training.
There used to be a stigma surrounding the trades, but that is quickly shifting. In the U.S., there will be 6.1 million jobs in the construction industry by 2021 and 1.5 million craft professionals will be needed to fill them. These highly trained workers are in serious demand, have a great deal of job security and their pay reflects it.
ABC of Iowa apprentices are taught proper safety and specific skills in the areas of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sheet metal, millwright, insulation, laborer and electronic systems technicians. Graduates of ABC’s apprenticeship program earn while they learn, entering the workforce with a great deal of experience and little to no debt. And our merit shop members across the state provide graduates with a rewarding career in which they can quickly earn their way up the ladder.
These graduates don’t need a cap and gown — they have a loaded tool belt and a job and have been building their careers while they earned their education. We’re proud of the hard work ABC of Iowa apprenticeship graduates have put in and wish them all the success in their future.