In the face of skilled labor shortages, the aim of National Apprenticeship Week is to expose the U.S. workforce to quality job options, including positions within the glazing industry, that don’t rely on expensive four-year degrees.

Anton Ruesing, director of the Finishing Trades Institute of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), explains that the organization is participating in events throughout the week in an effort to actively recruit young adults into the trade industries.

“Increasing awareness of apprenticeship programs in the building trades is extremely important. More and more young men and women are realizing that college isn’t necessarily right for them – financially or otherwise,” he says. “An apprenticeship is an appealing career path, especially since they ‘earn while they learn.’ Our apprentices are on the job earning an income while being trained by the best in the business. National Apprenticeship Week will bring some well-deserved attention to our programs.”

According to Ruesing, many building trades are too complex and often dangerous for someone to begin without training.

“An apprenticeship not only trains a young man or woman in the skills of the craft, but for safety as well. Learning how to do our craft the right way and safely is also a huge benefit to employers to maintain a healthy bottom line,” he says.

The IUPAT is collaborating with other industry partners to create a glazier certification.

“This is one of the ways we are bringing awareness to the viability of a successful career in the glazing trade, and helping our recruitment efforts because workers want their expertise and accomplishments in their craft recognized by the industry,” says Ruesing.

President Donald Trump addressed the need for apprenticeships in a White House press release on Friday.

“This week, I challenge businesses, educational institutions, and government entities to expand apprenticeship opportunities and other quality job-training programs to help open more doors for more Americans. As we put the education and training of our people first, American companies will join us by rededicating their efforts to hire American,” he said.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order that aims to expand apprenticeships and improve job-training programs. Part of the order directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to use available funding to promote apprenticeships, particularly in sectors where apprenticeships are not currently widespread, and it creates a task force that will recommend ways to promote apprenticeships.

The DOL website has information about how to start an apprenticeship program and where to find National Apprenticeship Week events across the U.S. National Apprenticeship Week runs through Sunday.