Being a member of Trade Show Carpenters Local 491 of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council means being part of a team that values earning a competitive salary with incredible benefits, all while enjoying a positive work-life balance. It also means being part of the team at the heart of every large convention and cool — yes cool! — event you’ve attended in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area. That’s right, Trade Show Carpenters Local 491’s fingerprints are all over the biggest happenings, from the Presidential Inauguration and White House Correspondents’ Dinner to the Washington, D.C., Auto Show and Maryland Bridal & Wedding Expo.

Here are seven reasons why it’s a great time to choose a career as a trade show carpenter:

1. Earn while you learn

Making a competitive wage while seeing steady work is the foundation for any good job. Our apprenticeship program offers a rare earn-while-you-learn opportunity, with apprentices earning $23.80 per hour on Day One while spending 160 hours per year in the classroom learning the trade. Unlike when attending college, apprentices do not accumulate debt during what is typically a 3-year program, and they enjoy full union membership benefits. Raises are given for the second and third years of the apprenticeship program, and participants earn journeyperson carpenter status upon completion.

2. Excellent pay with growth and leadership opportunities

Upon completion of the three-year apprenticeship program, members become journeyperson carpenters and can earn a contract-guaranteed $34 per hour. Specialty roles — riggers, foremen and forewomen — earn even more. Contractor partners of Local 491 also look to union members first to fill leadership positions, including forepersons and stewards, so opportunities for advancement are plentiful. Overtime is based on time worked over a regular 8-hour daily shift, and weekend work is automatically overtime, at 1.5 times the hourly rate. Annual pay can range from $75,000 to $100,000.

Local 491 Trade Show Carpenters

3. Generous benefits

Every member of Trade Show Carpenters Local 491 receives full medical, dental and vision care with no paycheck contributions, with family plans available in addition to individual plans. There’s also a vacation fund and pension plan. Apprentices start earning credits toward these benefits on Day 1. Members also receive an excellent retirement package, with contributions made to both a pension and annuity fund for each hour worked.

4. Flexible schedules

The world of a trade show carpenter is ever-changing, with a new show and new venue just around the corner. This is also an opportunity to work with your hands in a safety-first environment and earn a great living while enjoying flexible hours. There is no 9 to 5 grind while being tied to a desk. Journeymen and journeywomen have the flexibility to choose their own projects and locations. Many members enjoy extended time off around the December holidays and have down time in July and August, just in time to enjoy the warm weather with family and friends.

5. Unlimited training, opportunities

Members of Trade Show Carpenters Local 491 have access to free, lifetime training. That’s right: FREE LIFETIME TRAINING throughout your career. Unlike so many other careers, there is always an opportunity to learn new skills and boost your earnings potential.

Trade Show Carpenters

6. Inclusive, diverse team

One of the best things about being a trade show carpenter is the camaraderie and team-based culture in our union. Learn to work together with your fellow carpenters to achieve success. Local 491 welcomes and actively recruits a diverse workforce. This is a terrific opportunity for both women and men. Young people just starting their career, mothers and fathers and all ethnic and educational backgrounds are welcome. Leadership and advanced communication skills are part of the training program because the union believes in developing a complete professional, one who demonstrates both technical ability and soft skills. This isn’t just a job; it’s a family, one that is proud of its diversity and inclusion.

7. Security

Peace of mind is hard to find in today’s workplace, with rising health care costs, a turbulent job market, loss of pensions, the threat of artificial intelligence and the risk of 401(k) investments. Being a Local 491 trade show carpenter means being confident and secure. You earn a competitive salary and do interesting work, enjoy a healthy work-life balance, lock in excellent health care coverage that is free to each union member. And you retire with dignity and security, with a full pension and annuity fund so your golden years can truly be golden. All of it is not only possible but guaranteed by becoming a union member.