Employer Referral to Apprentice Program

Mandatory Apprentice Program

In 2019, LIUNA Chicagoland Laborers' District Council Training & Apprentice Fund established a Mandatory Apprentice Program. The Program is effective January 2, 2020. Under this Program, inexperienced employees hired on or after January 2, 2020 are required to participate in, and complete, the Apprentice Program. The term of Apprenticeship is two (2) years. An employee can only enter the Apprentice Program by being sponsored by a contributing employer (the "Sponsoring Employer"). Employers interested in sponsoring an individual into the Laborers' Apprentice Program must submit an online application on the Apprentice Program's web site at www.chicagolaborers.org under the "Apprentice Program" tab.

The online application must include the name of the Sponsoring Employer, an authorized person's contact information, the name and contact information of the sponsored applicant and the location of the job where the apprentice will begin working. In order for an applicant to be accepted into the Program, he or she must meet the physical, legal, communication and educational standards of the Apprentice Program and pass a substance abuse test.

The process for sponsoring an apprentice and the rules of the Program are set forth on the following pages.

Process and Requirements

  1. Signatory Employers wishing to sponsor an individual into the Laborers' Apprentice Program must submit an application online at www.chicagolaborers.org. Once the application is received by the Training Fund, the sponsored applicant will be contacted immediately to set up an appointment for the drug screen. The applicant will have 48 hours from the point of contact to fulfill this obligation.
  2. Once the Fund receives verification that the applicant has successfully passed the drug screen, the applicant will immediately be scheduled for the indenture process.

    Note: The Onboarding process will only occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Any delay by the applicant to complete the drug screening for any reason will delay the indenture process.
  3. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements:
    • At least 17 years of age
    • (1) High School diploma, GED or minimum 10th grade education or higher, (2) completed a General Educational Development (GED) Program or high school equivalency program, or (3) completion od an educational equivalency exam establishing an educational aptitude sufficient to comprehend the Apprentice Program's Curriculum (as determined by the Fund)
    • Possess a social security card
    • Physically able to perform the work of the trade
    • Have a reading, writing, understanding and communicating ability that would enable the applicant to perform the tasks of the Construction Craft Laborer in a safe manner and would allow the applicant to comprehend the subject matter taught in English only, in related instruction. (i.e. Google Translate or similar)
  4. Applicants must present the following documents to the Fund at their scheduled appointment time as part of the Onboarding process:
    • Valid Driver's License, unless the referring Employeer agrees in advance to waive this requirement
    • Social Security Card
    • Education documentation a listed in second bullet above (education)
    • Note: Any documentation missing from the list noted above will create a delay in the process.
  5. Successful applicants onboarded into the Program may, in some cases, begin their first week of training the week following their indentured date.
  6. Once the onboarding process is completed, the applicant is now eligible to work.
  7. The Sponsoring Employer shall maintain employment-related records of applicants and apprentices as required by law.

Additional Employer Information

  1. Available apprentices can be requested by contacting the Local Union office that has jurisdiction over the job site. If you are unable to obtain an apprentice from the Local Union office, contact the Director of Apprenticeship at 630-653-0006.
  2. Immediately after acceptance into the Program through the indenture process, an apprentice can be put to work at 60% of the journeyworker rate. Once the indenture process is complete, the apprentice will be registered with the Department of Labor.
  3. Apprentice wages begin at 60% of the journeyworker rate and progress to 70%, 80%, 90% and 100% every six months as they complete the required training and field experience. Full benefits must be paid immediately. Registered apprentices may be used on prevailing wage jobs.
  4. The Employer must allow the apprentice to attend the one-week Initial Orientation Course as well as all other training classes as directed by the Apprentice Coordinator.
  5. Apprentices are required to attend training classes that last one week approximately once every three (3) months. Adequate notification will be given to the apprentice and Sponsoring Employer.

 Rules of the Mandatory Apprentice Program

  1. General Rule: All new inexperienced employees hired by signatory employers on or after January 2, 2020 are required to participate in the Mandatory Apprentice Program. Effective January 2, 2020, it will be considered a violation of the Program to hire any new inexperienced employees as full-scale journeyworkers without such workers first completing the Mandatory Apprentice Program. Employers violating this policy may be subject to penalty.
  2. Experienced Employee Exception: Experienced employees will be exempt from the Mandatory Apprentice Program if they can document that they meet any of the following requirements: (1) work as a Laborer within the jurisdiction of the Chicagoland Laborers' District Council prior to January 2, 2020, (2) a total of 2,400 hours of work as a member of LIUNA or any other Building Trades union OR (3) completion of sufficient training at any LIUNA Apprentice Program or any other Building Trades apprentice program.
  3. Permit Worker Exception: An employer may hire a limited number of Permit Workers who are exempt from the requirements of the Mandatory Apprentice Program. Please see the document entitled "Permit Worker Program" for details.
  4. Newly Organized Employer Exception: For employers whose first Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed on or after January 2, 2020, its existing employees (that is, the employees on its payroll on the date the CBA is signed) will be exempt from the Mandatory Apprentice Program. A newly organized employer may sponsor some of its existing employees as apprentices, provided that it does not violate the contractual journeyworker to apprentice ratio. Employees hired after the date the employer becomes signatory will be required to be sponsored as an apprentice in accordance with the Mandatory Apprentice Program.
  5. Delinquent Employers: An employer that is delinquent in its monthly contributions to the various Chicagoland Laborers' benefit funds will be considered a Delinquent Employer. Delinquent Employers will not be permitted to sponsor any further apprentices until the Funds confirm that their outstanding delinquency is resolved.
  6. Choice of Apprentices: Employers shall be allowed to employ the individuals of their choice as apprentices. No employer will be refused sponsorship of an eligible applicant due to lack of openings in the Apprentice Program.
  7. Re-Application After Termination/Failed Drug Screen: No individual terminated from the Program may work as a Laborer in the jurisdiction of the Chicagoland Laborers' District Council. A former apprentice who is sponsored by an employer may re-apply to the Program one (1) year after termination from the Program. An applicant who fails a drug screen may re-apply one (1) year after the failed drug screen.
  8. Journeyworker to Apprentice Ratio: The ratio of journeyworkers to apprentices shall be six (6) laborer journeyworkers to one (1) laborer apprentice on a company-wide basis, with no more than 20% of the laborers being apprentices on any one jobsite of the employer. Employers who employ a maximum of between one (1) and five (5) laborer journeyworkers are entitled to one (1) laborer apprentice, who may be assigned to jobsites irrespective of the 20% jobsite maximum. In order to employ a second laborer apprentice, the employer must maintain the 6:1 ratio.
  9. Violations or Disputes: The Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee ("JATC") or its designee will hear and resolve any violation or dispute concerning the Mandatory Apprentice Program. Written notification must be received within 15 days of the alleged violation. The JATC will make such ruling as it deems necessary within 30 days of receiving the written notification. The decision by the JATC will be final and binding on the employer, the employee/apprentice and the Fund.
  10. More Information: Feel free to contact the Training Fund directly at 630-653-0006 ext. 200 with any question or to obtain information about the excellent instructional programs that will help employees become highly qualified and skilled workers. Additional classes are available to apprentices throughout their journey in the Apprentice Program. However, certain classes will not be available to an apprentice until a certain level of education has been reached. Please feel free to contact an Apprentice Coordinator to discuss additional training options available for your employees.

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If you have not taken advantage of the Apprentice Program, please take a few minutes and review the attached documents. For any further information, please contact John Retondo, Director of Apprenticeship at 630-653-0006 x252.