Plumbers protect the health of our nation.   The plumbing trade is worth exploring by anyone interested in a job that will never become obsolete or be outsourced to another country. A favorite slogan of the plumbing trade is: “Plumbers protect the health of our nation.” In a very real sense...

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Is it really training or just cheap labor?   In choosing an apprenticeship program, you have some basic decisions to make. Do you wish to pursue union employment or nonunion? Are you more intrigued by construction or service work? Most union-run apprenticeship programs are renowned for stressing...

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Most formal apprenticeship programs neglect service work.   In my last article I described traditional apprenticeship programs established by contractors, unions and nonunion companies for the construction trades. Some of the plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians who fix and maintain those...

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It combines classroom instruction with hands-on work.   Apprenticeship dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe as a way for master craftsmen to pass on their knowledge and techniques to younger generations. The craftsman would employ one or more young people at minimal wages in exchange for teaching...

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Working for free is unheard of in the trades.   You may have thought that the Emancipation Proclamation did away with slave labor in this country, but it persists in many office buildings around the country. That’s where thousands of college students spend their summers or evening hours fetching...

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Student loan payments quash home ownership   Homeownership among young Americans has hit the lowest level on record, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s probably not a coincidence that this coincides with burgeoning student debt. College graduates with student loans owe an average of $33,000,...

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The answer is that there is no answer. Germany is a nation renowned for the high caliber of its trade workers and the goods they produce in construction and manufacturing. A big reason is a system for identifying mechanically adept individuals early on and tracking them into trade careers via apprenticeships....

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A well-rounded person needs both.   I feel blessed to have graduated (class of 1965) from one of the best public high schools in the country — Lane Technical in Chicago. Then as now, Lane Tech ranked among national leaders in graduation and college admission rates. Lane graduates get accepted...

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Every generation freaks out its parents!   Back in the Roaring Twenties most older folks couldn’t understand their children’s fascination with a new style of music known as jazz – “the devil’s music,” as it was widely called. Those children grew up to be just as shocked when an even...

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