What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a proven way to train people for careers that demand a wide range of skills, knowledge, and independent judgment. Programs combine progressively challenging tasks, learned and practiced on-the-job, with classroom training.

Oregon’s Apprenticeship Programs…
75 Years of Excellence

  • Oregon’s Apprenticeship Programs have been improving construction in Oregon since 1931.
  • Oregon was the 2nd State in the nation to establish apprenticeship training at the state level.
  • Federal programs were established six years after Oregon’s and portions were modeled after Oregon’s training programs.

Union Apprenticeship Programs:
Building Oregon’s Strong and Diverse Workforce

A recent study conducted by the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center gives an objective comparison of the contributions of union and open shop apprenticeship programs to Oregon’s construction workforce.[i] This report offers empirical evidence indicating that union programs contribute more ethnic and gender diversity as well as raw numbers to the skilled labor force than open shop apprenticeship programs. Below are figures from the report showing the key differences found between union and open shop apprenticeship programs.

[i] Byrd, Barbara and Marc Weinstein. “Construction Apprenticeship in Oregon: An Analysis of Data on Union and Open Shop Apprenticeship Programs.” University of Oregon: Labor Education and Research Center. March 2005.

Union apprenticeship programs train a more diversely skilled labor force capable of meeting the needs of Oregon’s construction market.

Figure 1: Open Shop Construction Apprentices by Trade, 2004
(trades with more than 20 apprentices statewide)

Figure 2: Union Construction Apprentices by Trade, 2004
(trades with more than 20 apprentices statewide)

Union apprenticeship programs recruit and graduate a more gender and ethnically diverse workforce than open shop apprenticeship programs.

Figure 3: Women and Minority Male Apprentices, 2004

Figure 4: Minority and Female Graduates
among 1992-99 Entrants

Union Apprenticeship Programs:
Training the Majority of Oregon’s Skilled Workforce.

Despite being outnumbered nearly 2-to-1 by open shop apprenticeship programs, Oregon’s union apprenticeship programs register more apprentices.

Figure 5: Total Number of Active Construction Apprentices, 2004

Union based apprenticeship programs have a higher completion rate than open shop apprenticeship programs.

Figure 6: Union and Open Shop Share of Completions for 1992-99 Entrants

Oregon’s Apprenticeship Programs…

Too Valuable to Lose!