Madam Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing an Iowan who embodies the value of a strong work ethic and the dedication it takes to learn a trade. Earlier this month we celebrated National Apprenticeship Week to highlight the impact and value of apprenticeship programs across the United States. To continue that celebration, I am proud to name Nils Backstrom, a union carpenter in Iowa with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, as our Iowan of the Week.
Leaders in the Carpenters Training Program have described Nils as a pillar of what it means to be an active apprentice in their program. He’s always the first to volunteer for projects and has been a member of the Apprenticeship Committee since its inception. From the day Nils arrived at training, he has pushed both himself and the instructional team to be the very best at what they do.
The benefits of apprenticeship programs cannot be overstated. They supply Iowa businesses with well-trained employees to get tough jobs done well and on time, and folks like Nils are the backbone of these programs. These professionals are instilled with both the technical skills required of the job and leadership capacity that is so highly sought after. Apprentices complete 7,000 hours of on-the-job training and more than 640 hours of classroom learning.
Supplying a pipeline of highly skilled employees for the future is a critical role apprenticeship programs play in not just Iowa but nationally as well. Ensuring vital industries like information technology, healthcare, building trades, and advanced manufacturing are filled with the right people is crucial for building our future. What’s more, the work is rewarding and Iowans in these positions make a good living for their families. The Department of Labor has shown that Registered Apprenticeships have a 94 percent job placement rate at the conclusion of the program – with a highly competitive salary.
The importance of protecting and enhancing our workforce by supporting these apprenticeship programs should be an issue we can all get behind. Nils Backstrom is one of many hundreds of thousands of skilled apprentices across the nation. His spirit and drive, and that of his colleagues, are needed to build towards a better future for all individuals.
I’m grateful to Nils and his fellow apprentices for their dedication to their trade and their contributions to growing our state. We need more individuals like him to join the trade and fill highly in-demand, skilled positions available right here in Iowa. I ask the House to join me in honoring Nils Backstrom as Iowan of the Week.