ST. LOUIS – The Mid-America Carpenters Union’s Apprenticeship Program is holding its first graduation in over 20 years Friday.

They completed four years of classroom work and on-the-job instruction. Program leaders say there are half a million unfilled trade jobs in the U.S. due to many schools not discussing apprenticeships and encouraging students to go to college for other career options.

They say union carpenters are the highest-paid workers in the construction industry and can receive their 4-year training free of charge.

This year’s graduates will receive their certificates at Union Station at 6:00 p.m.