March 14, 2018
Alissa Roush knew she always wanted to work with her hands.
“It’s really satisfying to step back and look at something that you made and know that you got it down to a 1/64th-of-an-inch precision,” she said. “It’s exciting for me to make stuff.”
Two years into working toward a teaching degree at Truman College, Roush, 25, who was not receiving financial aid, changed course and enrolled in the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters’ Apprentice and Training Program.
She was one of about 145 people in an eight-hour class session Tuesday at the northwest suburban Elk Grove Village training facility.
Students in the union’s paid, four-year apprenticeship program can become certified and trained in a range of carpentry skills, general carpentry, drywall, floor covering, insulation, lathing, mill cabinet, millwright, pile driving, roofing, siding, or concrete forming. They receive assistance in finding employment during the apprenticeship, and attend training classes for one week every 90 days. In addition to the Elk Grove Village site, the union also has schools in Chicago, Rockford, Pekin, East Moline and Davenport, Iowa.
Students in the apprenticeship program get paid on a scale, roughly between $260 and $450 a week; 40 percent of journeyman wages during the first year, 50 percent during the second year, 65 percent during the third year, and 80 percent during the fourth year of the program. The students also receive benefits, insurance and a pension.
“When somebody comes into this program, it’s not just a job, it’s a career that you’ll hopefully have for a lifetime,” said Vince Sticca, director/coordinator of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters’ Apprentice and Training Program.