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AZ apprenticeship programs look to grow construction, trade jobs

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024   

The State of Arizona has received more than $650,000 in grant awards to advance five construction and trade registered apprenticeship programs.

Michael Dea, business manager and secretary-treasurer for Laborers' International Union of North America Local 1184, said Arizona is experiencing an "economic boom" thanks to federal legislation passed by the Biden administration.

Dea pointed out the grant money will directly support the expansion of Arizona's thriving economy by ensuring Arizona construction workers can receive the training they need to then secure good-paying, quality jobs. He emphasized the funds will have a significant effect on their efforts to recruit and place new members in the construction industry.

"There is a need for probably 8,000 to 10,000 construction jobs right now in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and there is no skill; meaning they don't know how to finish concrete, they don't know how to lay asphalt, they don't have a CDL license to drive trucks," Dea outlined. "Somebody has got to train those people, and help those people do that. That is what we are trying to do, in a nutshell."

Dea explained the funds, which are a part of Gov. Katie Hobbs' BuilditAZ Apprenticeship Initiative, could not have come at a better time. On June 14, Local 1184 is breaking ground on its new state-of-the-art training facility west of downtown Phoenix, which will promote the development and enhancement of skills among its members.

Dea contends Arizona is in a good position, especially when it comes to renewable energy projects like solar. There are between 41 and 45 utility-scale solar projects in the Grand Canyon State awaiting the green light, and Dea stressed the union wants to be a part of those projects.

"And train the guys that are going to go out, pound the posts. Put the panels on. Create energy. Build the battery storage facilities," Dea noted. "Then you have to build all the infrastructure around those. The roads, the highways, the streets, the sewer plants, the schools. Everything that comes with all that."

Dea added now people need to help grantees, like his organization, spend the funds and get more hands-on workers out in the field.

Disclosure: The Laborers International Union of North America contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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