Pete Ielmini of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust, Pete Ielmini joined America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on July 22 to discuss apprenticeships and the trades as a viable career option.
Ielmini described apprenticeships as an alternative to college. He admitted that this adds some negative connotations to apprenticeships, leaving some to assume apprenticeships lead to a lesser wage.
Ielmini then went into the benefits of apprenticeship programs, explaining how apprentices earn a livable wage while they learn on the job. Because these programs come at little to no cost, student debt is not taken on and benefits such as health insurance are guaranteed.
He added that college graduates typically leave with thousands in debt, while those who complete an apprenticeship will finish the program with years of being paid a great wage.
Ielmini discussed the various paths an insulator apprentice can take and how long the apprenticeship for that specific corner of the trade will take to complete, typically four to five years.
Lastly, Ielmini stressed that school guidance counselors and job fairs need to do a better job of eliminating the stigma of working in the trades and promoting apprenticeship programs.
Lamont Byrd of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Safety and Health Department discussed essential workers and proper personal protective equipment.
He talked about wearing masks and face covers while in public and how much they actually protect people.
Byrd explained that any type of face covering helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 and everyone should wear them to protect themselves and those around them. He then educated listeners on the difference between a surgical mask or a cloth mask compared to N95 respirator masks.
Byrd lamented the fact that wearing masks has been politicized. He questioned why a person simply wearing a mask to protect themselves and others is such a difficult concept to grasp.
Finally, he spoke about the future of health and safety training programs for the Teamsters and how they will offer online courses.