The Building Trades Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) is a comprehensive 120-hour apprenticeship-readiness program developed by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Committee on Apprenticeship, which represents 14 national and international craft organizations affiliated with NABTU. In 2012, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) recognized the MC3 with its Registered Apprenticeship Innovator and Trailblazer Award. The MC3 is designed to address the need for a high-quality workforce in the construction industry and to diversify the ranks of individuals entering apprenticeship training. These individuals include people of color, women, formerly incarcerated individuals, young people transitioning out of foster care, and others. In 2009, the MC3 was introduced by the DOL YouthBuild program as one of the nationally industry-recognized curricula offered by DOL YouthBuild grantees. The factor that distinguishes the MC3 from other curricula is that it can only be delivered with the express permission of a State or local building trades council. YouthBuild grantees offering the MC3 credential must complete an implementation plan approved by the building trades council and NABTU. This single requirement makes the MC3 more than a curriculum. It is a framework for partnership. Using the MC3 makes it easier for YouthBuild participants to transition into apprenticeship and opens the door for ongoing communication with one or more craft organizations. The process can also set the stage for a range of low- and high-touch work-based learning options named in the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion Final Report. Low-touch options include activities like field trips to apprenticeship training facilities and shadowing current apprentices undergoing training. Higher-touch options include trades people coming to YouthBuild programs to teach specific parts of the MC3. In Atlanta and Los Angeles, clusters of several YouthBuild grantees operating within the same metropolitan area have been able to create economies of scale by agreeing to a common criteria for apprenticeship-readiness training and signing onto one single implementation plan. Apprenticeship sponsors benefit because they can draw from a larger pool of YouthBuild participants who qualify for apprenticeship training once they exit YouthBuild. YouthBuild programs benefit because they can share resources for training and career exploration.
Grantees using the MC3 are able to incorporate all five program strategies of quality pre-apprenticeship programs outlined in WIOA DOL Only Final Rule 681.480:
- Approved training and curriculum that aligns with skill needs of employers
- Access to appropriate supportive services
- Meaningful hands-on learning activities that are connected to education and training activities
- Opportunities to attain at least one industry-recognized credential
- A partnership that assists with placing individuals into Registered Apprenticeships
MC3 implementation may take up to six months to complete but, not only does the planning pave the way for successful transition of YouthBuild graduates into apprenticeships in the construction industry, it also positions YouthBuild grantees as talent sources for construction industry employers.