Ask applicants to the Illinois Laborers and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship Training Program what laborers do, and most people will say they hold the flag at road construction sites.
"We do a lot more than that," said Michelle Payne, apprenticeship director.
Union laborers work with asphalt and concrete, build bridges, remove asbestos and other hazardous materials and handle other tasks.
But flagging is one of the trade's most visible, and dangerous jobs.
"It's probably the most dangerous job we have," training center administrator Ron Litherland said.
A memorial at the Mount Sterling facility, and a program held every other year, honors people throughout Illinois, who went to work in the trade but didn't make it home that evening.
"Safety is our No. 1 priority. Learning the job is No. 2," Litherland said. "One of the most important things is teaching them how to go to work and do the job safely and come back home to your family."
More information about the Illinois Laborers and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship Training Program and the training center in Mount Sterling is available by calling (217) 773-2741 and online at illaborers.org.