Apprentice ProgramsBuilding Trades Apprenticeships prepare women and men for careers in construction. Although all construction employment is temporary, these careers are genuine. Continuity between employers is achieved generally through the union hiring hall system. Pay is good to excellent, health benefits are provided both for workers and their families, and retirement plans are among the best and most stable in this country. The Building Trades value and take pride in skill and productivity, and the work they produce is a lifelong source of pride for their members. Journeylevel workers – that is, graduates from our apprenticeships – can work from union hiring halls anywhere in the United States. Their skill and the union hiring hall system bestow considerable independence on them. Applicants should in general have a taste for work that is both physically and mentally demanding and that is often performed out of doors in the elements.
Apprenticeships generally combine paid employment in actual construction with classroom study and homework. With very few exceptions, apprentices are not charged for tuition, books, or room and board. Apprentices start at only a portion of journeylevel pay, but advance in pay on a regular basis – usually every six months – as they fulfill requirements approved by the State of California. Work and classroom hours required to achieve journeylevel status for the various Building Trades are listed in the pages that follow, as are requirements for and methods of entry into their apprenticeships. Different “initiations” or entry fees are charged by the various trades; these are subject to change, and so should be learned through inquiring directly to the trade. They are not prohibitive. Wages likewise change and are not listed here. Again, they can be learned by direct inquiry to the trade.
Some of the pages that follow note that an applicant must be eighteen years of age to enter an apprenticeship, and this is in fact a general requirement that accords with California law limiting construction employment to those eighteen and older. Some pages also note that drug testing is required; the applicant should understand that even if this is not noted on a trade’s page, drug testing is a commonplace in the construction industry, and drug use and a successful career in construction are mutually exclusive. Construction is a regional industry, and even if a page does not list a requirement for a driver’s license and dependable personal transportation, these are a virtual necessity for regular employment and a successful career. Public transportation systems often don’t reach a place until we build them, and often have no reason to go to a place until we build there.