Economic uncertainty is one of the major concerns young people face. They are often forced to fight for underpaid jobs with stagnant wages, meager benefits and low job stability. Student debt and the high cost of living have put the American dream out of reach for too many young people.
To address this crisis, the AFL-CIO is partnering with the Chris Gardner Foundation and the Permission to Dream program to put students with limited economic opportunities on an early path to the middle class. The new partnership will give students from disadvantaged communities the opportunity to enter paid, registered apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades.
The program recently launched in two Detroit schools and will be piloted in select schools across the country. Funding will be provided for infrastructure and development projects. Students will complete the apprenticeship readiness program set by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). Once they graduate, students will have the opportunity to be placed in a registered apprenticeship program with an affiliate union. They also will be given a stipend to cover the cost of required tools and equipment. The program even provides assistance with transportation to and from training locations.
Founding partners of the Permission to Dream collaboration also include NABTU; the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW); the School Administrators (AFSA); the NFL Players Association (NFLPA); SAG-AFTRA; and Ullico, labor’s insurance and investment company.