What is Step-Up?
is a strategy initiated by HUD in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor
(DOL) in 1992 to assist low-income persons, particularly public and Indian housing
residents, to obtain job training, career employment, and economic self-sufficiency.
Step-Up combines the time-honored tradition of formal apprenticeship with preparatory
educational and life skills training, and support services.
mission is broad and multi-faceted, and includes increasing homeownership; supporting
community development; increasing access to affordable housing free of discrimination;
and providing economic opportunities for low-income people. HUD is privileged
to offer financial assistance through its many programs and other endeavors toward
this mission; key activities involve the construction and building maintenance
trades and HUD projects generate significant numbers of jobs in these trades.
However, HUD was concerned that the jobs being created by HUD projects were not
accessible to many low-income people living in the neighborhoods receiving HUD
assistance. Through Step-Up, HUD strives to utilize its programs and projects
to make jobs and training in the construction and maintenance fields available
to people who may not have such opportunities otherwise. In order to further this
objective, HUD turned to apprenticeship.
HUD supports apprenticeship because it works. Many of
HUD's program partners such as state and local governments, public housing authorities
(PHAs), and tribally-designated housing entities (TDHEs) already use apprenticeship
as a means to assemble and train a highly-qualified workforce. In addition, many
contractors and subcontractors engaged on HUD-assisted projects participate in
established apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs offer job training
together with jobs; apprentices earn wages while they are learning their trade.
Apprenticeship has a long and proud history of providing structured, highly competent,
safe and comprehensive occupational training and of producing journey-level workers
of exceptional caliber. America needs a highly skilled workforce to build and
maintain its communities, infrastructure and economy.
For many low-income people, access to and/or participation in
apprenticeship was limited. Some people didn't meet entry level requirements for
apprenticeship such as having a high school diploma or equivalent, or having taken
certain math or science classes. Some didn't have access to affordable child care
or transportation, or both. Mainstream job training and employment was beyond
the reach for many. HUD created Step-Up as a bridge to close the gap and make
apprenticeship opportunities more accessible.
is Step-Up different?
The Step-Up Year
The Step-Up model
bridges this gap by offering a preparatory period of paid practical work experience
together with basic education and support services. Typical Step-Up programs feature
GED programs for those who do not have a high school diploma; transportation and
child care assistance; life-skills training; counseling; and may offer subsidies
for work clothing and tools. This preparatory period and support services give
people a chance to gain the education, skills and work experience that they need
to successfully enter and complete an apprenticeship, or to pursue other career
training and employment. The preparatory period usually lasts one year, but it
can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances. After this initial period,
Step-Up participants can transition to traditional apprenticeship programs, other
occupational training or continuing education, and/or to long-term employment.
Experience in a Variety of Trades
like apprentices in traditional programs, Step-Up apprentices spend part of their
time in on-the-job training and part of their time in classroom training. However,
unlike traditional programs, Step-Up apprentices can gain on-the-job work experience
in a variety of trades. This flexibility means that there may be more on-the-job
work opportunities and it means that Step-Up apprentices are exposed to more kinds
of work and can learn from their own experience which trade(s) best suits them.
does apprenticeship work?
All bona fide apprenticeship programs are based
on standards that are approved by DOL's Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
(BAT) or a state apprenticeship council (SAC) recognized by BAT. The standards
outline the on-the-job and classroom training that will be provided to apprentices
registered under the program and the progress that will be required of the apprentices
in order to complete the program. The standards also specify the wages that will
be paid to the apprentices; these wages increase as the apprentices demonstrate
progress on-the-job and in the classroom. Traditional apprenticeship programs
typically involve 4 to 6 years of training. Apprentices that complete their training
are certified as journeyworkers in their respective trade; a certification that
is recognized, nationally.
does Step-Up work?
Step-Up programs rely upon partnerships among community
educational institutions, industries and employers, trade unions, and service
providers, and all Step-Up programs are based upon a commitment to long-term employment
outcomes for the Step-Up apprentices. A program sponsor serves as the "hub" for
coordinating the design and implementation of the Step-Up program. The sponsor
works with the BAT or SAC to develop the standards. The sponsor recruits the Step-Up
apprentices; arranges for on-the-job and classroom training; monitors the progress
of the individual apprentices; and generally coordinates the activities of the
various partners and participants. The sponsor and partners also seek placements
for the Step-Up apprentices that complete their preparatory period.
Step-Up work outside of construction and building maintenance? Absolutely.
There are thousands of occupations that can be learned through apprenticeship.
HUD programs primarily fund construction and building maintenance activities and
HUD projects need skilled workers in these trades. Naturally, that is where HUD
started. But, HUD encourages apprenticeship in any occupation. For example, a
Step-Up sponsor could consider a wide range of occupations beyond construction
and building maintenance including child care, building inspection, health care,
office support, and many more.
can I get more information or assistance?
HUD's Office of Labor Relations
can provide more information and assistance concerning Step-Up. Please follow
the link, below, for a list of the Labor Relations field staff, their contact
information, and the jurisdictions they serve.
Relations Regional/Field Office Staff