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The Steel Erector
An Appreciable occupation is a skilled trade which possesses all of the following characteristics:

1) It is customarily learned in a practical way through related instruction and on -the-job supervised training.

2) It is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout an industry.
3) It is not part of an occupation previously recognized by the registering agency as appreciable, unless such part is practiced industry wide as an identifiable and distinct trade.

4) It involves manual, mechanical, or technical skills and knowledge which require a minimum of 2000 hours of on-the-job experience.

5) It requires a minimum of 144 hours of related instruction per year to supplement on-the-job work experience.

6) It involves skill sufficient to establish normal career sustaining employment for the length of the apprentice's work life. It entails technical and theoretical considerations which are susceptible to instruction within the period as defined in the program standards.

Public works projects that have prevailing wage requirements create a financial disadvantage for open shop erectors who do not participate in an apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program allows for the union steel erector to have one apprentice for every journeyman. The open shop steel erector that does not utilize an apprenticeship program, must pay all workers the journeyman scale. This system, designed to force participation to make the competition equal, is a tough line to cross when a company has made the business decision to remain as an open shop.

In the State of Washington, there are currently no open shop steel erectors who do participate in the apprenticeship program.

The Department of Labor and Industries is responsible and accountable for the Apprenticeship Act within the state for federal purposes. The director of labor and industries appoints a regulatory apprenticeship council. There are seven council members. Three representing labor, three representing management, and one public member, with each member serving a three year term. All but the public appointment are union members.

This committee meets four times a year. Meetings occur on the third Thursday of January, April, July and October. If you are interested in finding out more about the program, take the time to get involved with the Washington State Apprenticeship Council by attending quarterly meetings and any other activities they sponsor.

The quickest way for an employer to participate in the apprenticeship program is to become a Registered Training Agent of an existing apprenticeship committee. The employer enters into an agreement with the Apprenticeship committee to act as a Training Agent of the Committee; this agreement is registered with the Department of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship Section. Employers are not required to sign a collective bargaining agreement to participate. Committees may charge an amount equivalent to the cost incurred by current employers participating in the program.

More information on this subject will be offered in future issues of The Fabricator's Resource as we help you move forward through this process.
Costs associated with the Apprenticeship Program
Open shop erectors lose out over Apprenticeship Program Advantages
Registered apprenticeship is strictly a voluntary participation process and partnership. There are no government fees or fines but there are costs to consider.

Registered apprenticeship requires a long-term commitment by both the employer and the apprentice.

An apprentice must be sponsored by the employer, who administers and pays for the program. A union may also be involved with the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships last between 1 and 6 years. Apprentices are paid wages while they learn and in larger business establishments a supervisor of apprentices and one or more instructors may be employed.
Apprentice Occupation