Press Release

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Visit Indianapolis Apprenticeship Program

 AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler yesterday joined Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Andre Carson, Indiana State AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies (USW), Indiana AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Shawn Christ (IBEW), Indiana State Building & Construction Trades Council Executive Director Rob Henderson, Central Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council President Jon Hooker and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 20 Business Manager Trent Todd for a tour of the International Association of SMART Local 20 Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) in Indianapolis. As part of the visit, President Shuler had the opportunity to see 20 apprentices during their hands-on training in welding, metal bending, cutting and fabrication. This visit underscored the importance of apprenticeships in developing a pathway to a highly skilled union career. 

“Yesterday’s visit with Secretary Buttigieg and these incredible apprentices was a preview of the future of the American workforce,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “What we saw here was a facility that is shaping the next generation of workers. Where apprentices are training for jobs to earn a living wage. Where they will learn the skills that will ensure that their jobs will always be secure. And where they will become part of a union family that will always have their back.”

Buttigieg, returning to his native Indiana, commended SMART Local 20 and the apprentices for the work they were putting in to get ready for jobs available now and in the future. 

“We've got 37,000 infrastructure projects and counting, plus Indiana’s share of private sector manufacturing-related investments during this stage of Bidenomics—and it is union workers like those who trained at this facility helping to deliver and get that done,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Last point I want to make is the importance of unions, not just economically, as President Biden often says, building the middle class along with building America, and building livelihoods along with building factories and airport terminals and bridges—but also the social fabric that is being rebuilt in the community life that revolves around these worksites and training facilities and union halls. So for that reason and many more, I’m so proud to be with you, so thankful for the work you do, and I can’t think of a better way to launch that labor week.”

“It was great having Secretary Buttigieg and President Shuler here to highlight this monumentally successful program,” said Indiana State AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies. “It is crucial that we continue to develop the skills of our workforce to meet the challenges that our changing economy presents us, and the opportunities that Biden administration investments have offered.”

President Shuler’s visit comes on the heels of her inaugural State of the Unions address Tuesday, during which she released new polling that shows that 71% of Americans approve of labor unions. That number rises to 88% when surveying only workers younger than 30. 

Contact: Liz Vlock, 202-637-5018