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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

KY Apprenticeships offer a debt-free career path

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023   

The number of registered active apprentices more than doubled in Kentucky between 2013 and 2021, including carpenters, cement masons, construction laborers and electricians, among more than 100 occupations.

A new report found apprenticeships deliver big benefits for communities and employers.

Research shows apprentices earn more than comparable workers, with an average starting salary of $50,000 per year and increased estimated earnings of $300,000 over the course of a lifetime.

Ed Willoughby, administrator of the Kentucky Laborers' Training Fund, said his organization is always recruiting, and currently has small waitlists. His concern is ensuring immediate full-time employment for apprentice grads.

"The big key with apprenticeship and to make an apprenticeship work is to have a job for those people to go directly to," Willoughby pointed out.

According to a recent report, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act called for infrastructure improvements and repairs, abandoned mine land reclamation, repurposing shuttered coal plants, grid modernization and renewable energy growth, which will require boosting the nation's skilled-trade workforce.

Willoughby noted an apprenticeship also offers workers a chance to get hands-on experience without paying tuition, gain college credits, and earn a paycheck while learning on the job. He added residents interested in apprenticeship training should visit the state's apprentice website to learn more.

"You get paid while you're working," Willoughby emphasized. "You get your training or education paid for. So you won't incur the student loans with college."

The nation's unionized construction workforce has aged steadily over the past three decades. As workers retire, a new crop of younger workers is needed to meet demand. According to the report, more than 61,000 construction laborers in the Commonwealth have received apprenticeship training.


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