Learning Green Skills on the Path to Middle-Class Careers

December 18, 2009 -- Center on Policy Initiatives

New CPI study finds construction training programs key to economic recovery

CPI released a report in September linking quality apprenticeship programs in the building trades to the future of California's green economy and economic recovery.

The report, Construction Apprenticeship Programs: Career Training for California's Recovery, demonstrates that apprenticeship training is most effective when run collaboratively by labor and management.

"This report sheds light on how important it is to put Californians back to work in jobs that offer a pathway out of poverty and into America's middle class," said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance. "Building-trades apprenticeship programs help stabilize and strengthen underprivileged communities, and they provide workers with the skills they need to thrive in the new green economy."

Data compiled in the report show that the vast majority of apprenticeship graduates in California (92%) come from joint labor-management programs established through collective bargaining.

The report concludes that construction apprenticeship:

  • leads people from disadvantaged backgrounds to middle-class careers
  • is the best vehicle for green job training
  • reduces workplace injuries and turnover, and provides consistent health insurance between jobs in a largely temporary industry

Report author Corinne Wilson, CPI research and policy analyst, calls for local, state and federal policies to support quality apprenticeship programs. The public contracting policies recommended by the study include targeted hiring in low-income communities and giving preference to training programs that provide healthcare and comprehensive safety certification.

You can access the full report and a related video here.