NCPN Volume 29, No. 5: Preparing for Life Beyond the Classroom: Florida Pathways to Apprenticeship

FMAEF’s pipeline of talent in masonry

Florida Pathways to Apprenticeship is a program of the Florida Masonry Apprentice and Education Foundation (FMAEF). FMAEF was created in 2002 to add new and to expand existing apprenticeship programs and offer education to the masonry industry.

FMAEF works closely with the Masonry Association of Florida (MAF) to establish industry standards on curriculum and credentialing. Employers and other support partners donate tools, equipment, and materials. FMAEF is also supported through the Florida Concrete Masonry Education Council (FCMEC).

FMAEF has developed an extensive network of employers who speak with construction classes, participate in open houses and career fairs, and provide shadowing and internship opportunities for students. Employers participate in local, state, and national Skills USA competitions as mentors, contest chairs, and judges.

FMAEF is an Accredited Training Sponsor (ATS) for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and sponsors over 100 high school and postsecondary programs along with programs in Juvenile Justice, Youth Build, Department of Corrections, and other re-entry programs. These “pre-apprentice” training opportunities are the basis for the Florida Pathways to Apprenticeship Program.

Prospective participants can enter the program at multiple levels. Through pre-apprenticeship training completed at the high school level, at-risk youth programs such as Youth Build and AMI Kids, or any of the eight Florida Department of Corrections programs, students who have completed NCCER knowledge and performance levels can articulate credit earned into apprenticeship programs. The program also provides a process for adults seeking to enroll and establish proof of past experience.

By providing continuing options for articulation from pre-apprentice training into full masonry apprenticeship programs, the FMAEF has developed a pipeline of talent for participating contractors and companies feeling the strain of a limited skilled labor pool. The commitment to using nationally recognized curriculum with stackable credentials provides for a growth model where employers can continue to educate and develop leaders in their respective fields. The FMAEF has developed a pathway that utilizes the knowledge and skills learned in the above-mentioned areas of pre-apprenticeship to articulate credit based on competencies mastered and demonstrated ability to meet the Florida State Apprenticeship Agency-approved brick and block masonry apprenticeship standards.

The partnerships between LEAs, the Masonry Association of Florida, CareerSource Florida, the Florida Concrete Masonry Education Council, and industry partners makes this program successful. From donated tools and training materials for the programs to support funding for WIOA-qualified students, every stakeholder in this process plays an important role in closing the gap in Florida’s skilled workforce.

Apprenticeship comes in many forms. In times past, each generation assumed the responsibility of teaching skills to the next generation. This should become common practice once again—for the benefit of our nation. Learning is a lifelong process and comes in many varieties. A successful career in construction can span a lifetime as well, if teaching and learning never stop.

Florida Pathways to Apprenticeship was awarded the first place Career Pathways Partnership award at the 2018 NCPN conference in Louisville. For more information, contact the author at 407-319-6059 or visit

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