Labor Day Letter to the Editor: Apprenticeship Ratios

Dear Editor:

This year, Labor Day is even more meaningful because there has never been greater opportunity for America’s workforce, particularly through careers in construction. The construction industry is healthy, it can never be outsourced overseas and the demand for skilled labor is high. This is positive for those seeking family-sustaining construction careers, which there are many.

The construction industry nationwide needs to hire a staggering 500,000 workers just to fill a backlog of existing jobs. That number could jump to one million, once America’s infrastructure rebuilding initiative is underway. In Wisconsin alone, the anticipated Foxconn construction project in the Racine/Kenosha area will require 10,000 construction workers, placing a strain on the availability of workers statewide.

Efforts are underway to make the skilled construction trades more accessible. Wisconsin is proposing the streamlining of burdensome apprenticeship ratios (journey workers to apprentices) that strictly limit the number of workers who can be trained in the construction trades. This common-sense measure does not spend any additional tax dollars and will help bridge the skills gap.

Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin and its nearly 900 member employers applaud efforts like this one to make construction careers more accessible. When jobs go unfilled, full potential is not reached by individuals, our state or our country. We encourage lawmakers to continue to be prudent about removing barriers hampering our ability to meet our state’s workforce needs.


John Mielke
ABC of Wisconsin