A local plumbing and pipe fitters union has an apprenticeship program they say can be an alternative to some negative aspects of further education, like debt and student loans. The Bureau of Labor Staistics says there has been a slight decline in union trade workers over the decades. However, national job website show plenty of trade jobs still need to be filled. In Vermont, Local 693 says its program is designed to take around five years to complete. They say you can work as you go to school to learn specific skills.