Tribes, unions and government unite to promote apprenticeship, careers in trades
The following is from the Laborers (LIUNA) Northwest Region:
DES MOINES, Wash. (March 8, 2019) — The Washington State Apprenticeship Training Council Tribal Sub-Committee (WSATSC), tribal and labor leaders and government liaisons gathered at the LIUNA Local 242 hall to discuss the importance of apprenticeship programs for the employment of Native Americans. With high unemployment rates, addiction and suicide, among other hardships, these community leaders are working to improve the situations for many tribes through workforce development while solving a statewide labor shortage.
“Union apprenticeship programs are the gold standard for training the next generation of skilled workers…We want to do everything we can to promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in these programs,” Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Apprenticeship opportunities for family-wage careers should be available to all.”
The WSATSC has been serving Native American communities for more than 15 years. In order to reach these communities, a list of needs were developed including recognition of the tribes as training agents, open communication with labor organizations and off-reservation projects to include TERO language were highlighted.
Native American representation in apprenticeship programs for Washington state are at 3 percent while tribes like the Yakama have an unemployment rate of 69 percent. The nationwide labor shortage hasn’t tapped into the potential of Native American communities though Washington has 29 federally recognized tribes.
“Synergistic partnering with unions in apprenticeships will develop qualified workers and create a great career path for both organizations and membership,” said Lee Adolph, CEO/President Council for Tribal Employment Rights, TERO.
The Northwest Region is the largest geographical region in the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). LIUNA Northwest Region represents more than 46,000 working people of diverse backgrounds and occupations with 23 local unions, five district councils and 13 dedicated training facilities. We are united through collective bargaining agreements which help us earn family-supporting pay, good benefits and the opportunity for advancement and better lives.