The 2017 event marks the 30-year anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Competition. It grew out of section competitions, which started with the Southeast Area Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s recognition of the effort apprentices put into their training. In 1968, SAJAC held a competition for graduating apprentices and presented its first Paul D. Wedge Memorial Award. Over the next several years, other sections began establishing awards for their outstanding apprentices.
With every apprenticeship area staging an annual contest, the logical step was to go national to acknowledge the top apprentice of the year. The first national competition was held in Kansas City, Missouri, August 21-26, 1988, at the National Training Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The first winner was Anthony DeFrancesco, Local 237 (Hartford, Connecticut).
Source: “Grace Under Pressure”