The Construction industry is as diverse and dynamic as the people that work in it. It is an industry that literally built empires. Every era is defined by the construction trades. And though our craftsmen and women no longer have to rely on antiquated practices to build pyramids out of mud, they are no less skilled. The modern construction industry is equally committed to creating structures that stand the test of time and serve as tangible reminders of the commitment of those that built them.
A career in construction is both challenging and rewarding. Craftspeople are a highly skilled part of the work force and have the ability to work on jobs around the country (and the world). Meaning that learning a trade can be more than just your gateway to a career, it's your gateway to a whole world of possibilities.
Opportunities for advancement in construction are available in every trade. A craftsperson is able to distinguish themselves through both preparation and completion. The pride of creating results in the reward of moving up in your chosen trade and developing further skills and the ability to train the next generation, passing on the legacy of the craft.
Opportunities are looking bright for those entering into the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in construction and extraction occupations is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. As of 2016, nearly half of the skilled trade workers in the United States were quickly approaching retirement age. This exodus of skilled workers creates career opportunities for men and women entering into the industry. The infrastructure in the United States has been rapidly deteriorating. Many of the nation’s roads and bridges and sanitary and sewer systems were built in the 1950’s and are in need of replacement. All of these dynamics converging at the same time means skilled men and women will have the opportunity to join a vibrant a prosperous career in the professional building trades.
Men and women who work in construction careers also have the ability to travel. There are periods when the local economy just isn’t doing as well as other areas of the country or even the world. When a local economic downturn occurs, it is not uncommon to see skilled trade workers travel and work on interesting projects in other markets. In fact, many traveling construction workers can command lucrative compensation packages due to the high national demand for talented construction workers.
Training is what gives the northwest Indiana building and construction trades and contractors their strong competitive advantage. All individuals entering into a professional trade start out in a comprehensive training program known as an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs are a method of learning in which skilled trade professionals (certified journeypersons) pass on knowledge and skills to students (apprentices). The program is highly structured and combines classroom education with on-the-job training instruction. Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship program, individuals are considered to be journey-level craft professionals. However, the learning doesn’t stop there. Most construction trades require their journey-level craftspeople to undertake continuing education hours every year brush-up their skills and become familiar with new and emerging technologies.
For individuals interested in advancing their careers beyond journey-level, many of the building trade training centers and construction trade associations such the Construction Advancement Foundation offer higher-level, industry specific training programs. These can include Foreman, Superintendent, Project Management, Estimator, Safety Management, and Executive-level training.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the construction apprenticeship program is the debt-free education. In an era with skyrocketing college tuition and student debt, construction apprenticeships are an attractive alternative to the traditional college route. In many skilled trade apprenticeship programs, apprentices can earn a college degree for their coursework and on-the-job training from Ivy Tech Community College. Not only do apprentices get a debt-free education and a degree, but they also get paid for their time spent working on the job mastering their craft.
A career in construction can create a pathway to middle-class jobs. A skilled tradesperson working full-time in the construction industry can expect to earn anywhere from $70,000 - $90,000 a year depending on the trade and hours worked. If you factor in fringe benefits, the total hourly wage package in Northwest Indiana averages just over $66.00 per hour. Superintendents, Foreman, Estimators, and Project Managers can earn upwards of six-figures every year. There are many other perks that contractors offer such as company gas cards and take-home vehicles for employees in supervision positions.
The health and welfare of construction employees and eligible participants is of great importance to both contractors and labor. Employees of the skilled trades and their families all receive health & welfare benefits as part of their total compensation package. Although the plans vary by trade, most plans provide some form of Medical, Prescription, Dental, Vision, Weekly Accident & Sickness, Death and/or Dismemberment benefits.
Retirement benefits can vary within the construction industry depending on the employer and the trade. The majority of skilled trade professionals belong to defined-benefit pension plans while most managerial employees and other support personal are usually enrolled in defined-contribution plans.
We Build Debt-Free Education
“One of the greatest aspects of the apprenticeship program is that I earn a college degree from Ivy Tech when I complete the program. It doesn’t cost me a dime. In fact, I get paid a decent wage while I’m on-the-job learning under the guidance of journey-level professionals.”
John Kocur, Lake Village, IN ~ Local 210 Plumber Apprentice
We Build Diversity
"The Indiana Plan is instrumental in helping minorities prepare for a career in construction. They provided me with training and exposure to pre-apprenticeship programs. The program not only gave me confidence in my abilities, but helped me stand out in my interview process. As a result, I can now proudly say that I am an Ironworker tradeswoman."
Melissa Giffert, Hobart, IN ~ Local 395 Ironworker Apprentice