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OTHER VOICES: Union apprenticeships can help fill infrastructure jobs

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Jobs are coming to Iowa, good jobs that a person can raise a family on.

Thank goodness for the federal infrastructure and jobs bill. After years of kicking the can down the road, the United States is finally getting serious about problems that need fixing.

Billions of federal dollars are on the way to fix Iowa’s roads and bridges, bring broadband to every Iowa community, protect our drinking water, and make other long-term investments in our state.

However, these projects will require skilled workers, people who make sure things are done right. Where will we find them?

Union apprenticeship programs are part of the answer. That’s where apprentices become skilled men and women who know what they are doing, workers who don’t cut corners on quality or safety. In exchange, union members are paid good wages and benefits.

Here in Sioux City, as in many communities, local unions work with contractors to help apprentices learn necessary skills. As far as the job goes, there is little difference between union and non-union workers. One big difference is the great benefits unions provide members. The health and retirement benefits earned by Sioux City’s union carpenters are equal to an additional $17 an hour.

Today, the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters’ apprenticeship program will host an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. at the union hall on 2200 W. 19th St. 

It is an opportunity to get your questions answered. It might also be your chance to help build Iowa up while securing your family’s future.

Sen. Jackie Smith, a small businesswoman from Sioux City, is a Democrat who represents District 7 in the Iowa Senate. 

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