As the U.S. Department of Labor marks the first ever “Apprenticeship Week,” Minnesota is expanding apprenticeships into manufacturing. Minnesota is one of just three states partnering the AFL-CIO’s Working for America Institute and the Department of Labor to implement the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) apprenticeship program.
Unions and employers are already teaming up to get the 18-month, 3,000-hour training course off the ground. In St. Paul, Local 22 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union (BCTGM) and Baldinger Bakery have already started the IMT apprenticeship program.
“Thanks to my union and employer, I’m learning new skills that expand what I can do at the factory while boosting my pay,” said Eladio Salvador, a Baldinger employee and BCTGM Local 22 member.
Apprentices at Baldinger will add seven industry-recognized credentials and certifications to their skill set and earn a pay increase.
Other Minnesota unions are also reaching out to employers to further-expand the IMT apprenticeship program.
“Unions already negotiate higher wages and benefits for their members and advocate for working people,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy. “The IMT program is a great opportunity for Minnesota’s unions to provide even more value to members.”