On January 15, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) issued the report: Ensuring the Safety of Youth in Skilled Trades Training Programs. This report to the Minnesota Legislature explains that any benefit gained by bringing youth under the age of 18 onto an active construction site is “overwhelmed by the unacceptable risk to youths’ health, safety and wellbeing.” 

The report concludes that “the Legislature make a greater investment in these existing programs so they can be expanded to provide opportunities to a greater number of Minnesota’s youth. It is also the department’s recommendation that when establishing or supporting youth training programs, the Legislature require the recommended safety precautions listed in this report be met by those programs.”

We are pleased that this very comprehensive report both states the need to increase awareness about construction careers for Minnesota youth, and also provides a strong framework for how hand’s-on exposure to construction careers should be provided to keep kids safe

Jessica Looman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council. 

The DLI report highlights several programs that partner with the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades and their contractor employers that are providing age appropriate and safe construction career exposure and exploration opportunities for middle and high school students.

The report specifically highlights Construction Tomorrow, Learn2Build, Minnesota Trades Academy and Construction Apprenticeship Preparation Schools as programs that “provide hands-on training in skills youth would use in [construction] careers while protecting their health, safety, and wellbeing.” 

The report also discusses that Registered Apprenticeship is the primary pipeline for the skilled construction trades workforce in Minnesota. There are currently over 10,000 Registered Apprentices in Minnesota in more than 50 privately funded union construction Registered Apprenticeship Programs. 

In a press release, the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades argues that ,

Registered Apprenticeships have been and continue to be the pathway for more women and minorities to enter the construction trades and Minnesota contractors, business owners, and communities rely on Registered Apprenticeship programs to train our future construction workers to grow our State’s economy and ensure our safety. 

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