Mahoning Guidance Counselors Hear “6 Little Known Facts About Building Trades Apprenticeships”

Eyes were opened. Questions were asked. Connections were made.

Youngtown Area Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee director Ed Emerick co-presented about the benefits of organized building trades apprentice programs to Mahoning County high school guidance counselors with peers from the Plumbers and Pipefitters and the Builders Association.

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Marty Loney (right) and Ed Emerick (standing in center) were part of a group of union building trades representatives presenting to Mahoning County guidance counselors about the benefits of apprentice programs.

“It was a unified message about encouraging the right students to learn more about, and apply for, union apprenticeships,” Emerick said. “The right people were in the room, and judging by the questions they asked and the comments they made afterward I think we hit the right notes with them. They’re one of the conduits to us filling the pipeline of work we have available right here in the Mahoning Valley.”

Emerick, along with Marty Loney from the Plumbers/Pipefitters and Dan Fry from the Builders, covered not only the basic qualifications they look for in apprentice candidates, but drove home six factors that many counselors didn’t realize about the apprenticeships:

1) They pay an excellent wage and benefits package. In fact, first-year apprentices would rank among the top-10 in college majors with the highest starting salaries.

2) No student loan debt. Programs are less than $1,000 per year in total costs, and apprentices even earn money throughout the 3- or 5-year program working on construction sites alongside journeymen electricians.

3) Work is in high demand. The electrical program’s job placement rate is above 90 percent.

4) Career flexibility. Apprenticeship graduates go on to not only become journeyman electricians, but also project managers, contractors, engineers, union leadership, training directors and college graduates.

5) Apprentices earn college credits; as many as 36 credits through Northwest State Community College, which is just a few classes short of an Associate’s Degree.

6) The work can be highly technical. As construction becomes more and more technologically advanced, apprentices need to show more of a command of algebra and reading comprehension; both of which are tested at the time of application.

Visit to see video interviews with recent apprentices and to learn how to apply for the next class.