“We need to focus on creating more pathways to these important opportunities that allow young people to access high paying jobs with training right out of high school.”
Springfield, IL – This morning, Nikki Budzinski, candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, released her plan to increase access to union apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a crucial way to help more young people in Central and Southern Illinois access the good paying, union jobs as alternatives to 4-year college degrees that come with thousands of dollars in student debt.
The benefits of union apprenticeship programs are irrefutable – according to the Department of Commerce, 91 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their program, and their average starting wage is above $60,000.
Budzinski released the following statement: “I strongly believe we need to increase access to important programs like union apprenticeships. These programs are gateways to high paying jobs for young people across our state that don’t require them to take on mountains of debt. We need to focus on creating more pathways to these important opportunities that allow young people to access high paying jobs with training right out of high school.
“I am proud to have spent my career in the labor movement fighting for programs like apprenticeships that help working families. In Congress, I’ll always bring people together and support programs like these. It’s a shame that my opponent, Regan Deering, refused to support legislation like the bipartisan infrastructure bill that has created so many jobs in the building trades right here in Central and Southern Illinois.”
Budzinski’s four part plan includes:
- Ensure More Union Jobs, Pass the Pro Act – The best thing we can do to increase the number of union apprenticeships is increase the number of good union paying jobs. That’s why we must pass the Pro Act to ensure strong worker protections and more union jobs for America.
- Create more partnerships between local unions and local high schools, in order to create more changes for high school students to learn about opportunities in the trades as alternatives to 4 year colleges when they are graduating seniors.
- Ensure Fair Access to Funding for All – While Washington is focused on those who attended 4 year college we must ensure that those going to union apprenticeships, community college, and technical school always get the same educational benefits.
- Make Sure the Building Trades Have A Seat at the Table – Far too many in Washington think they have all the answers but never actually hear from the people impacted. I’ve spent my career fighting for union workers and in Washington they will always have a seat at the table.
Nikki Budzinski is a labor activist, former Chief of Staff at the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden Administration and Senior Advisor to Governor JB Pritzker. Born in Peoria, Illinois, she’s the granddaughter of a union painter and public-school teachers. Nikki has over ten years’ experience in the labor movement, working for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and International Association of Fire Fighters.