Apprenticeship is both an ancient tradition and a highly effective modern training method, particularly for those choosing to work in the exciting and increasingly technical construction industry.
The United Association has the first nationally registered joint apprenticeship program in the United States, dating back to 1936. Over 75 years ago!
Individuals who enter a United Association five-year apprenticeship program are part of a select group of men and women motivated to learn a complex and challenging trade while upholding the ideals of trade unionism. Applicants are evaluated on the same fair basis, without regard to race, sex, national origin or religious affiliation.
UA apprentices learn through both classroom and on-the-job training in what is considered by many to be the best construction industry apprentice program in the world. The five-year apprenticeship period is divided into one-year segments, each of which includes 1,700 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 216 hours of related classroom instruction.
All UA apprentices receive a strong general education background in the trade, with core courses in basics such as mathematics and drafting. Apprentices choose a specific path to follow, to become trained as a journeyman plumber, pipe fitter, sprinkler fitter, or service mechanic.
All training programs are run through United Association local joint training committees in specific cities or regions, and are overseen by National Joint Training Committees. One of the things that make the UA training program so successful is that we view it as a joint partnership between labor and management.
Apprenticeship is not an easy time: UA apprentices must work the same hours as journeypersons plus attend classes. Yet, this can be a highly rewarding career path for an individual who is highly motivated to learn the piping trade and become an active member of a proud and noble trade union.