Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

$17.27 an Hour, With Benefits, While Training? Welcome to Union Apprenticeship in Indiana

We Build NWI

submit to reddit  

In order to ensure that the region’s young adults can get proper information about careers in the construction trades, northwest Indiana unions invited counselors and teachers to tour training centers, like an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) apprenticeship facility, and learn about the training process and its requirements.  Roughly 40 educators toured regional training centers and construction sites learning about sheet metal, carpentry, plumbing and electrical careers.  The program was co-organized by the Northwest Indiana Works Council, READY NWI, and the Construction Advancement Foundation.  

The goal of the tours was to ensure that high school students in the region have a clear view of the trades and consider it a viable path to success rather than being pre-conditioned to pursue a four-year college degree.  According to, Lee Culver of United Association (Plumbers) Local 210 said there was plenty of opportunity in his union and claimed they “struggled to get good applicants.”  The five-year apprenticeship does not cost the students a dime. Rather, they earn $17.27 with benefits while they train.

IBEW Local 697 training director Ken Jania said his union’s apprenticeship program had a graduation rate of 95 percent. He admitted that the first year is a struggle for many of the young apprentices as they do not yet “know how hard they can work.”  Educators took a tour of the IBEW’s training facility in Merrillville and Local 697 Business Manager Dan Waldrup guided the tour, which included a wind turbine built at the facility over four years ago which is visible from the highway.  As Waldrup poetically told, “We have to train for the old, we have to train for the new.”

Several educators told that the excursion was a positive experience:

David Walters, a careers and financial literacy teacher at Eggers Middle School in Hammond, said the tour helped the educators learn about opportunities in construction careers that might be a good fit for their students, and “how to have them apply, what they need to do to be eligible.”

The school teaches a careers class in eighth-grade, and Hammond operates a career center for high school juniors and seniors, he said.

Chesterton High School counselor James Moore said the day provided “something I’d like to bring up as another option” for students considering their futures. “They can have a comfortable lifestyle and a career they enjoy doing.”

“It’s definitely eye-opening,” he said. “As I learned more, I can think of a number of students I can share this with.”

The Construction Advancement Foundation has launched a website,, to share its resources and inform young students about opportunities in the trades.


One Comment on “$17.27 an Hour, With Benefits, While Training? Welcome to Union Apprenticeship in Indiana”

  1. Union #1

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image