Milwaukee-area apprenticeships on the rise

CREATED Feb 26, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - Apprenticeships are on the rise in several cities in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee.  
"I think the construction trades and the apprenticeship opportunities are going up. I think it's a direct correlation to improvement in the construction industry," said Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin president John Mielke.  
There are also more job openings. 
"We've seen a number of people leave the trade and that's left a gap for new people to come in," Mielke said. "So I think the opportunity for an apprenticeship looks bright."
At the lowest level, ABC's program had about 400 apprentices statewide. That compares with about 1,200 at the peak. 
"And we're probably back in the 800 or 900 mark right now and those numbers are increasing," Mielke said. 
There are advantages to participating in an apprenticeship versus a traditional four year college. 
"When you're in an apprenticeship program, you're employed and earning a living, earning a wage, while you're learning the trade," Mielke said. "[That compares with] a university setting, where you're paying tuition to get a degree, and then you're out in the job market hoping to get a job.  In an apprenticeship, that's all happening at once."