Life is Too Short Not
to Love What You Do
Construction is one of the largest industries in the world. Construction workers build our bridges and roads, our places of employment and entertainment, our schools, and our homes. More than ever, we need skilled, trained and dedicated workers to maintain the high-level of quality that goes into every Better Built construction project.
Careers in union construction not only provide a good living, but also an opportunity to work in a hands-on, diverse environment. Construction careers require comprehensive training in an apprenticeship program or through college as well as ongoing training and certification.
Better Built Members have extensive training and experience that allows them to provide clients the best construction experience possible and to provide their families a good quality of life–and the best part, they love what they do!
Learn more about construction careers by choosing a topic from the menu at left.
Building trades (or crafts) workers are the backbone of the unionized construction industry, bringing expert craftsmanship, high-tech skills and hands-on experience to each Better Built project.
Building trades workers specialize in one of many trades listed below. To learn more about each trade, click on the trade below, see Building Trades in the Member Directory, or download the Building Trades Apprenticeship Booklet.
Experienced trades workers may advance to become job-site foremen or superintendents. They may also choose to become representatives for their unions or instructors for their apprenticeship training programs.
Trades workers may work out of their union local (or “hall”), getting called to work for a variety of contractors and jobs, or they may work directly for a contractor. Hours worked annually can fluctuate with the construction economy and weather conditions. Trades workers must learn how to budget their annual income to allow for these fluctuations.
For more information about local building trades, also go to West Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council (WCIBCTC).
Good Wages and Benefits
Each trades worker receives scale wages and benefits as negotiated by trade unions and area contractors. These benefit packages allow trades workers to draw a good salary, prepare for retirement, take care of family health needs, and contribute to the local economy.
Contact each trade above or download the Building Trades Apprenticeship Booklet for current wage rates and benefit packages.
Apprenticeship – Earn While You Learn
Individuals interested in becoming building trades workers must apply for and complete a comprehensive apprenticeship training program. Each trade operates its own apprenticeship training program that adheres to the highest and strictest standards monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship training programs typically last three to five years and include on-the-job and classroom training. Apprentices receive a percentage of scale wages as well as benefits while learning on the job. As apprentices move through their training programs, that percentage typically increases.
An apprentice who completes the training program is recognized and awarded “Journeyman” status and receives scale wages and benefits. A Journeyman has the qualifications and ability to travel to different areas around the world to pursue work in his or her trade.
Apprenticeship programs take new classes of apprentices according to the demand for construction work. Some programs take applications year-round, while others only take applications during certain times.
To apply for an apprenticeship program, interested individuals should contact the training director or representative for the trade. Download the Building Trades Apprenticeship Booklet for more details, contact information, and application dates.
Entry requirements for each apprenticeship program vary but may include the following:
- Be age 18 or older
- Hold valid driver’s license
Pass drug screen
Pass aptitude test, including math skills
Interview with trade representatives
Complete an application and/or submit a resume
Pay an application fee
Provide high school (and college) transcripts
Be able to perform the duties of the trade
Typical Work Day – Love What You Do
Building trades workers work in a variety of conditions–wet, cold, hot, high, or even underground. They use a variety of tools and work at many types of job sites from commercial and industrial to institutional and residential.
On a job site, trades workers must be prepared for any type of weather or condition, use math and communication skills frequently, and use a variety of tools. They must adhere to strict safety standards and work with a level of professionalism that gets the job done on time, in budget, and with the highest quality.
Trades workers may work year-round or may have periods of time when work is limited or unavailable due to the economy or weather. It is important for them to budget for these fluctuations.
When asked what they love most about their jobs, pride and satisfaction top the list. They see the results of their hard work and craftsmanship in completed projects in their communities.
Safety and Health
Safety is a priority in union construction. Building trades and contractors work together to ensure the safety of each worker, adhering to strict safety standards set and monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Trades workers must use appropriate safety equipment and complete regular safety and health training and certification.
Ongoing Training and Certification
Building trades workers must regularly update their skills. This means they must go through additional training and certification in a number of areas, especially related to their trade and including safety and health.
Contractors are companies hired by owners to complete building projects. They provide management, coordination, equipment and supplies, as well as hire labor (building trades) to complete each Better Built project with the highest quality, on time and in budget.
Examples of management careers:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) / President / Owner
Division Manager / Officer
Engineer / Architect
Business Development Director / Sales Associate
Information Technology (IT) Director
For a list of area contractors who hire union building trades, go to the Member Directory.
For more information about local contractors, also visit Greater Peoria Contractors and Suppliers Association (GPCSA).
Good Wages and Benefits
Workers in management careers negotiate wages and benefits on an individual basis with their employers. They generally draw good salaries and have benefit packages that allow them to prepare for retirement, take care of family health needs, and contribute to the local economy.
Training and Entry Requirements
Management careers often require a Bachelor’s degree in project management, business, architecture, and/or engineering. Many workers in management positions began in the trades and gradually moved into supervisory or management roles.
Skills necessary to enter management careers include good communication, math, organization, computer knowledge, and good work ethic (i.e., cooperative attitude, showing up on time).
Those individuals interested in contracting or management careers can explore construction programs at many colleges and universities, including the following local schools:
Some contractors offer internship and/or job shadow opportunities for those interested in management careers.
Typical Work Day–Love What You Do
Those in management careers work in a variety of settings. They may work in an office environment and/or may need to visit construction job sites. Management workers may spend time meeting with project owners, architects, potential clients, and labor representatives.
When management workers spend time on job sites, they must be prepared for various weather conditions and adhere to strict safety rules, including wearing proper protective equipment.
Cooperation and good communication with co-workers, employees, labor, and clients is critical for construction projects to be completed on time, in budget, and with the highest quality. Management workers also use math and organizational skills frequently to complete their work.
Just like building trades workers, when asked what they love most about their jobs, pride and satisfaction top the list. They see the results of their hard work and skill in completed projects in their communities.
Safety and Health
Safety is a priority in union construction. Contractors and building trades work together to ensure the safety of each worker, adhering to strict safety standards set and monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
All construction workers, labor and management, must use appropriate safety equipment on job sites and complete regular safety and health training and certification.
Ongoing Training and Certification
Management workers must regularly update their skills. This means they must go through additional training and certification in a number of areas, especially related to their specialty and including safety and health.
Other Construction Careers Provide Support
Construction on a job site cannot happen without additional support and guidance. Each of the following careers has its own, specific training requirements, including Bachelor’s, Associate’s, and/or technical degrees.
Supplier (construction materials, safety equipment, etc.)
Accountant / Bookkeeper
Administrative Assistant / Clerical Staff
Owner’s Representative / Construction Manager
Information Technology Systems Specialist
Trucking Company Owner / Transportation Coordinator
Trainer / Instructor
Negotiations Facilitator / Arbitrator
Director of Industry Association
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