Parishes that choose an electrical upgrade or a solar installation by PRO Lighting & Solar may find themselves putting a parishioner to work. That’s because of a unique partnership between an area Catholic high school and IBEW Local 212. High school students at Cincinnati’s Elder High School have an opportunity to get a jump on a career as a union electrician by taking a course at the union’s nearby training center. Participants who take the elective visit the union’s apprenticeship and training center two days per week.
While many Catholic high schools focus exclusively on college placements, Elder appreciates that a construction apprenticeship can also be a promising career path. Union electricians can earn $30, $40, $50 or more per hour, depending on the region of the country they live – a salary competitive with many white-collar jobs. Most IBEW members (and other union construction workers) also enjoy fully employer-paid family health insurance as well as a defined-benefit pension, both increasingly rare in other segments of the economy. And many eventually go on to start their own companies.
Union apprenticeship programs are supervised by a joint committee of union representatives and contractors who employ them. “Half the JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee) are graduates from Elder High School,” says Training Director Charlie Kenser. “A lot of our members are Elder grads.”