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Button Myths - NWLETT


They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question. They are wrong, as anyone who’s ever uttered the words, “What does this button do?” can tell you. The questions below are not stupid questions; they are FAQs. Just don’t ask what FAQs are. That would be a stupid question.

  • I live a long way from a training site; can I check in the night before my class?

    You betcha. Students can check in from 4 p.m. until midnight the evening prior to their course at the Kingston and Elma (Satsop) training sites. Dinner is served at the Kingston site on Sunday nights from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The Pasco, Spokane, and West Jordan, Utah, sites are not live-in facilities.

  • Will I get travel reimbursement?

    Yep, upon successful completion of a course. The rate is based on one round trip, and is determined by the distance from the student’s local union hall to the training site.

  • What if I can’t attend a course I have been scheduled for?

    You will be in big, big trouble. Kidding. If for any reason you are unable to attend, please call the training program office as soon as possible. For Kingston, call 1-800-240-9112; for Utah, call 801-280-7195.

  • How long are courses?

    Here comes the answer everyone loves… it depends. Some courses run for as long as two weeks, and some are one day in length. Usually courses are eight hours per day, Monday through Friday.

  • When do courses start?

    For courses at the training sites that are one day or longer, check-in time is between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. In Kingston, courses start promptly at 8 a.m.; in Satsop, at 7:30 a.m., and at Des Moines, 7:00 a.m.

  • How do I check in?

    Check-in time is usually 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. the morning of the course. If a student is rooming at the site, it’s 4 p.m. to midnight the night before. Check-in is located at the main office building. Students will fill out class registration paperwork and receive towels and a room key, if necessary. Jammies are your responsibility. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

  • What should I bring with me to training?

    Work clothes, work boots, gloves and rain gear are required. Students are responsible for bringing their own personal grooming items and laundry soap, if needed. There is an on-site laundry facility for students’ use.

    The training program will notify students of any specific clothing and/or equipment needs. Bed linens and bath and hand towels are provided. The school also furnishes necessary tools, materials and books.

  • Where will I sleep?

    If a course is more than a day in length, a room will be provided. Depending on availability, you may share a room with another student. Two rooms share one bathroom. Separate facilities are provided for women.

  • Are meals provided?

    Yes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided to students attending a course. Breakfast is from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Lunch is served at noon. Dinner is from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

  • What is there to do in the evenings?

    The Kingston training site offers a TV lounge and board games for students to use after training hours. In addition, beaches, hiking trails, a movie theatre, shopping and other outdoor activities are located nearby.

  • I am enrolled in a two-week course; can I stay at the training site over the weekend?

    Students enrolled in two-week courses can receive housing and meals on the weekend. Students should inform their instructor when they arrive if these arrangements need to be made.

  • What are in-local courses?

    In-local courses are given by NWLETT instructors at the local union hall or at an employer’s site. In-local courses are generally refreshers and take place in the evening hours. For example, an eight-hour flagging course could take place from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. over two evenings.

  • How do I attend in-local courses?

    Sign up for in-local courses at your local union hall. If you wish to take an in-local course offered by another local union hall, ask your business agent to call the hall offering the course and find out if there is room in the course for you to attend.


  • Myth: If I don’t go to college my future will suck.

    Fact: Baloney. College isn’t for everyone, and the attitude that every high school graduate should attend college does a real disservice to those who don’t, by limiting their opportunity for career preparation.

    Today’s workforce requires skills that can be obtained through a technical college or an apprenticeship program. Students who enjoy working with their hands, designing and building in the construction industry are in demand and are well paid. A skilled craftsman is a career to be proud of.

  • Myth: Any schmuck can get a job in the construction Industry.

    Fact: Construction workers are in high demand, but career training to acquire knowledge and skills is a must.

    Many laborers actually have some college education; otherwise they are considered skilled tradesmen. Construction is one of the only industries where employers continually pay for, host or send their employees to receive training. Apprenticeships are highly competitive. From education regarding OSHA safety regulations to classes, seminars and conferences regarding the latest construction technology and innovation, construction professionals are constantly improving their skill sets.

    Workers interested in pursuing project management or other upper-level positions are often required to obtain a degree or further technical training. In a competitive market, especially the post-recession construction market, it can be very difficult for uneducated or inexperienced workers to find a job.

  • Myth: Working in construction is crazy dangerous.

    Fact: Sure, working in construction can be dangerous, but current safety standards and regulations have made the construction industry as safe as it has ever been. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics states that fatal work injuries in the private construction sector have decreased every year since 2006. Companies have learned that developing risk management plans, observing regular safety meetings and keeping a continuous eye on safety decreases construction site accidents and injuries. Also, tool manufacturers and equipment vendors are producing equipment with built-in safety features. They are also hosting their own orientations, trainings and safety meetings, which further the cause of “Safety First.”

  • Myth: People work in construction as a last resort.

    Fact: Most construction professionals are exactly where they want to be. Construction offers a multitude of jobs for a variety of skill sets, from planning and building to organizing and managing. Individuals who start in a trade when they’re young receive more continual education and training than the majority of their professional counterparts. This is especially true when you consider that less than half of the workforce claims their job requires a college degree.

    Construction workers are employed in an industry that typically works Monday through Friday, with regular working hours and holidays off. They are also fairly compensated for overtime. Plus, it is very satisfying to work in a profession where you can work with your hands as well as your head, and can see the products of your labor on a daily basis. Not to mention, the majority of houses, bridges, roads, high-rises, etc., that you build will be there for decades—if not centuries—to come.

  • Myth: Construction is a simple job made up of people slinging tools.

    Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Construction begins long before a single construction worker and their tool ever arrives on the scene. City and town planners, economists, engineers and architects are not performing “simple” jobs. Neither are the trained and skilled workers who show up every day using modern innovation and construction technology to build the world we live in. Construction requires a greater ability to “think outside the box,” as well as in-the-moment problem-solving skills that are not required in many other professions.

  • Myth: Construction is a dead-end job with no future.

    Fact: Construction is a multibillion-dollar industry. From residential homes to fancy hotels and high-rises to our complex transportation systems, there are plenty of opportunities for construction workers to get ahead and earn a very decent living.

    Consider that the median salary for construction project managers is $82,790 and it is quickly obvious that professional success is a real possibility for construction professionals who are interested in working up through the ranks. It is also one of the few job markets left where entrepreneurs and skilled workers who want to start their own company have the opportunity to grow a lucrative business.

  • Myth: Construction is for high school dummies and dropouts.

    Fact: People choose the construction industry because they like to work, use their smarts, show their skills and enjoy the challenges. Individuals with excellent math and reading skills enter this industry to build amazing structures. Construction professionals work with their hands as well as their brains, and take pride in getting an idea from conception to the final product.

  • Myth: Construction doesn’t pay.

    Fact: The truth is that many construction workers earn more per hour than university graduates, and an average construction worker’s annual salary is greater than the overall national average salary. If you work your way up in this industry as an apprentice, you can earn money while you’re studying and avoid student loan issues.

  • Myth: The construction industry is no place for women.

    Fact: Today, both men and women work as respected professionals on the same construction teams, and earn equal pay. You can find talented and well-trained women in this industry, and employers and coworkers appreciate their professional skills.

  • Myth: Only muscle-bound, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers can make it in construction.

    Fact: The construction profession requires you to be physically fit. It does not require you to be big and buff. As a matter of fact, to succeed in this profession, brains are more important than brawn.


The construction industry is the largest employer in the world, and is projected to grow 70 percent by 2025. You’re welcome.

The construction industry employs approximately 200,000 people in Washington. Take that, Starbucks!

The wage for a Group 3 Laborer in Western Washington is $39.81 an hour, plus $11.49 an hour in healthcare and pension benefits. Nice work if you can get it. (Psst! You can get it.)

The wage for a first-year laborer apprentice in Western Washington is $23.89 an hour, plus $11.49 an hour in healthcare and pension benefits. Not too shabby, huh?

Training for apprentices registered with a local union hall is free, including free room and board while attending courses at various training locations.

Seattle’s Key Arena, officially renamed Climate Pledge Arena, is being completely redeveloped to utilize only renewable energy. It is the first Zero Carbon certified professional sports venue in the world.

The crown jewel of Amazon’s $4 billion Seattle Campus are the Spheres, a trio of conjoined glass domes complete with terraces, waterfall and river features, a treehouse conference area and roughly 40,000 plants.

Construction makes up about 10 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product. It is one of country’s largest industries. Nothing gross about that.

A September 2020 workforce survey shows that one in five construction workers are over the age of 55 and for every one new worker entering the field, two are retiring. The opportunities in the construction industry are rich and plentiful.

Currently, there are approximately 6,000 women who are members of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

The office market in the Puget Sound region has 6.9 million square feet currently under construction, making it the fifth busiest in the country behind Houston, the Bay Area, New York and Dallas.

More than $398 million is currently slated for clean water projects in Washington state.

The construction industry needs 240,000 craft professionals every year to keep up with project demands nationwide.

Seattle ranks among the top 10 biotech clusters in the country.

Healthcare is expected to increase 9.6%, office buildings by 7.4% and commercial construction by 6.6% and are the nonresidential sectors projected to see the largest growth in 2021.

Transportation is expected to increase by 37% and power infrastructure by 13.7%.

Estimates indicate the U.S. population of construction machinery is approximately 3 million units, but only about one-third of the total fleet is in operation at any given time.

97 percent of general contractors currently use mobile devices on job sites.

Bluebeam Revu for the iPad is the most widely used app in the construction industry.

Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were first developed in the 1950s, and have become the standard method for putting tunnels in hard rock and compacted sediment.

The University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University offer construction management degrees.

Nationwide, there are over 375,000 apprentices currently obtaining the skills they need to succeed while earning wages they need to build financial security.

In Washington, the Construction Craft Laborer Apprenticeship program consists of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 480 hours of classroom training before being promoted to Journeyman.

There are currently over 9,000 apprentices working in construction in Washington state, learning a trade and earning wages to secure their future.

Construction-related jobs account for approximately 66 percent of all jobs in the United States.

Caterpillar is the world’s #1 heavy equipment manufacturer. Komatsu and Hitachi are #2 and #3.

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