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Is Heavy Equipment training for you? Take a quick look here to find out

CALL US TODAY!
(888) 879-9492

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True Cost of a “Free” Apprenticeship – By David Steenstra, Ph.D.

As a professor and former Dean of Business at Ferris State University, I’m often questioned about the cost of a post-secondary education and how that compares with the earn-as-you-learn union apprenticeship opportunities. Many would argue that apprenticeships are free education, but sometimes “free” isn’t really free. Let me explain how a union apprenticeship works.

The primary function of a labor union is to represent its members in negotiations (aka, collective bargaining agreement—CBA) with employers concerning wages, benefits, work hours and working conditions. An apprentice under a CBA doesn’t work for the union but is a member and pays dues: he or she is an employee of the company that issues the paycheck.

Let’s talk about the “free” apprenticeship program. We’ll use an apprentice heavy equipment operator as an example. We’ll say the apprentice wage is 80 percent of journeyman scale for the first 2,000 hours, which is very likely. The apprenticeship hours requirement is generally around 4,000, and wages fluctuate from 60-90 percent of journeyman scale, with most starting around 60 percent. Let’s also assume that the journeyman scale is $20 an hour (excluding fringe benefits, as apprentices may not qualify for them). A typical rule of thumb estimates union dues equivalent to two hours of pay per month.

Cost-of-free-apprenticeship

Here we have our apprentice beginning his on-the-job “free” training and earning 80 percent of the journeyman’s wage. That’s $16 an hour. We’ll assume the apprenticeship program is two years or 4,000 hours—typical of an apprenticeship. If we take the $4 difference per hour between the apprentice’s wages and the journeyman’s and multiply it by the base man-hours per year for two years ($4 x 2,080 x 2), the total is $16,640. Figure another $960 for local union dues, and the “free” apprenticeship actually costs $17,600.

How is that possible, considering the apprentice is earning $33,280 per year ($16/hour x 2,080 hours) or $66,560 for the two-year apprenticeship? It’s opportunity cost. Had the employee been a journeyman, he or she would have earned $41,600 per year or $83,200 for the two years. The difference between the two scenarios is the opportunity cost of the “free” program.

Now, if the individual instead opts for training at a school such as HEC, he or she can finish the program in three weeks and be considered an entry-level journeyman, making 100 percent of scale wages. Additionally, that journeyman will be certified, and that’s what employers are looking for.

It’s true that after three weeks, an entry-level heavy equipment operator won’t be the world’s best. That takes time and practice. HEC simply condenses and accelerates the learning curve, establishes the necessary safety practices that employers require and proctors nationally recognized certification tests.

HEC provides the entry-level knowledge, skills and abilities for its operators to begin their practice.

OPEN THE DOOR TO A NEW CAREER!

Locations

CA – San Bernardino:  1955 W. 9th Street | San Bernardino, CA 92411
 
CA – Ft. Irwin:  306 Langford Lake Road | Bld # TR0403 | CA 92310
(Location is on a military base and is VETERAN ONLY – Career Skills Program (CSP)*)
 
Georgia:  581 Sigman Road, Suite 300 | Conyers, GA 30013
 
North Carolina:  1909 Bragg Blvd, Suite 94 | Fayetteville, NC 28303
 
Oklahoma:  6101 W. Reno Avenue, Suite 1000 | Oklahoma City, OK 73127
 
Washington:  4701 McChord Drive SW | Lakewood, WA 98499
(Location is on military base and is VETERAN ONLY – Career Skills Program (CSP)*and VA Education Benefits)

© 2020 Heavy Equipment Colleges of America. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy 

CALIFORNIA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment College of America is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means the institution is compliant with the minimum standards contained in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Division 7.5 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. (https://www.bppe.ca.gov/). Access all Catalogs, Student Performance Fact Sheets and Brochures here.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the government agency responsible for determining eligibility for VA education benefits and for authorizing payment for the benefits. If you have questions about the available benefits or your eligibility, please contact our admissions office at 888- 879-9492. You may also visit https://www.gibill.va.gov to learn more about the available benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America cannot guarantee employment or career advancement or any particular earnings or salary.

OKLAHOMA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment Colleges of America has a Certificate of Approval from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The school’s programs are approved by TWC. Students must address their concerns about this school of any of its educational programs by following the grievance process outlined in the school’s catalog. Students dissatisfied with the school’s response to their complaint or who are not able to file a complaint with the school, can file a formal complaint with TWC, as well as with other relevant agencies or accreditors, if applicable. Information on filing a complaint with TWC can be found on TWC’s website at www.texasworkforce.org/careerschoolstudents.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and provides training to prepare candidates for CCO examinations.

*The Army’s Career Skills Program (CSP) prepares Soldiers for civilian employment through first-class apprenticeships, on-the-job training, job shadowing, internships and employment skills training. Soldiers are eligible to participate in an Army CSP up to 180 days prior to separation from the Army and after completion of the mandatory 5-day SFL-TAP workshop. To be considered for an open seat in a CSP you must contact the POC at the installation where you want to attend a CSP and submit your commander authorized/signed participation memo in advance of the start date.

WIOA/TAA funded training may be provided only to individuals who qualify for the program and not only if funds are available.