Apprenticeship has been a long-proven model for training a successful workforce. Rooted in the European medieval period (1300-1500), Masters of construction and artisanal trades passed on their knowledge and training to unskilled youth in return for their unregulated “indentured" servitude. This class system – Apprentice, Journeyman & Master – came to North America during the colonial period. Over the next 500 years, as the North American economic system transformed under the industrial revolution, this traditional model of “master-to-trainer" was all but abandoned by many employers.
But in 1911, Wisconsin Progressives wrote and enacted the first registered apprenticeship law in the nation, which redefined the traditional apprenticeship model to include classroom instruction and state registration of the indenture. This model – a collaboration of government advisory bodies, higher education and industry/labor organizations – remains largely unchanged today.
Apprenticeship combines supervised structured, on-the-job training with related classroom instruction and involves a progressive schedule for wage increases over the term of the contract. Contracts are drafted and overseen by the Department of Workforce Development-Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. Plumbing Apprentices are sponsored by the Committee and are employed by a contractor for the term of their apprenticeship, all the while receiving wages and – as Local 75 members – benefits such as healthcare, pension and access to member-funded training! Apprenticeships provide a complete education in all aspects of the craft, and training extends beyond the specific skills required by any one employer. Upon successful completion of this 5 year/8,000 hour program and passing the state licensing examination, graduates will possess a Journeyman Plumber’s license.
For the Apprentice – Apprenticeship provides focused, hands-on training and a valuable education in an increasingly technical and sophisticated industry – and from your first day you get PAID to learn a CAREER-not just a job!
For the Employer – Apprenticeship provides a “pipeline” to a highly-skilled, productive workforce through a flexible, yet systematic training strategy that offers customized training to meet industry-needs.