High quality skill development training for IUOE members is provided by nearly 70 apprenticeship and training programs at IUOE local unions throughout the U.S and Canada. These programs, usually registered with a federal, state or provincial apprenticeship agency, are jointly sponsored by the IUOE local unions and the employers for whom the locals supply labor.
Apprenticeship is an excellent way to learn a craft and to earn an income at the same time. The system is designed to give someone who knows little or nothing about the trade the knowledge to become a master. The average length of an Operating Engineer apprenticeship is three to four years. During this period, apprentices learn their trade by 1) working with skilled journeymen on actual job sites, and 2) attending related classroom instruction and/or field training at the local union.
Field training can take place on or off the local union’s site. Volunteer service projects such as building a neighborhood baseball diamond enhance the community while giving apprentices useful practice for working on a real job. Starting pay for an apprentice is about 40% to 60% of the journey-level rate. Pay increases are scheduled at designated times during the progression of the apprentices to journeymen.
After completing apprenticeship and achieving journey-level status, members are encouraged to take advantage of advanced training classes the IUOE offers. This will enable members to stay on top of technological advances in construction equipment and other issues related to the industries in which employed. To be the best, members should continually strive to build and improve their skills. By constantly expanding their skills and enhancing their versatility, members substantially increase their opportunities to get good jobs–and keep them.