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Union Apprenticeship: Your Pathway to Success
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Construction Apprenticeship Programs: Career Training for California's Recovery — filed under: State Policy

The Center on Policy Initiatives has released a report linking quality apprenticeship programs in the building trades to the future of California's green economy and economic recovery. The report demonstrates that apprenticeship training is most effective when run collaboratively by labor and management.

"This report sheds light on how important it is to put Californians back to work in jobs that offer a pathway out of poverty and into America's middle class," said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance. "Building-trades apprenticeship programs help stabilize and strengthen underprivileged communities, and they provide workers with the skills they need to thrive in the new green economy."

Data compiled in the report show that the vast majority of apprenticeship graduates in California (92%) come from joint labor-management programs established through collective bargaining.

The report concludes that construction apprenticeship:

  • leads people from disadvantaged backgrounds to middle-class careers
  • is the best vehicle for green job training
  • reduces workplace injuries and turnover, and provides consistent health insurance between jobs in a largely temporary industry

Report author Corinne Wilson, CPI research and policy analyst, calls for local, state, and federal policies to support quality apprenticeship programs. The public contracting policies recommended by the study include targeted hiring in low-income communities and giving preference to training programs that provide health care and comprehensive safety certification.

Labor Union Apprenticeships generally offer higher wages and standards than those that aren't union-run. Admission to these apprenticeships is competitive. Easing this bottleneck is one of the reasons Green For All works so hard to create more good union jobs. Historically, unions have been one of the few places where everyday people can move into dignified, middle-class careers. Contact your local trade unions and ask them about apprenticeship programs related to clean energy and construction. Encourage them to support green-collar programs for people with little access to education. Visit Green For All’s website for more green-collar job resources. www.greenforall.org

What makes careers in the trades and apprenticeship such a great option for workforce development?

When you place a client with no previous experience into the "Earn While You Learn" model of apprenticeship you are placing them directly into a high-wage/high-growth job with benefits. Women and men are paid to learn a skilled craft over time and eventually reach the level of Journeyman. The number of Journeymen who are retiring exceeds the number of new workers coming in to carry on the tradition. The construction industry desperately needs new workers to take over where others leave off. But learning a trade is a long process, not one that can be accomplished overnight. More…

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How to help clients find a program that’s right for them

1. Familiarize yourself with the different crafts and what they do so that you can direct people to those that best fit their interests and talents.

2. Understand the personality and traits you need to succeed in the trades. Pre-screening clients is vital for everyone concerned. Apprenticeship programs are looking for candidates who are willing to work hard and stick with the program for 3-5 years. The rewards are fantastic but they require commitment.

3. Learn the basics of Apprenticeship. Each program is run differently so you must work with them directly to get the most up-to-date application information. Here are some of the basic requirements that apply to most (not all) trades:

  • High School diploma or G.E.D.
  • Minimum 18 years of age (there is no specified maximum age).
  • Physical ability to perform the work.
  • Valid California Driver License.
  • Reliable transportation.
  • Drug free and willing to be drug tested.
  • Good basic math skills.

4. Know the apprenticeship programs operating in your area. Establish relationships with the Coordinators and let them know you are interested in working together. They can tell you what their anticipated needs are for workers in your specific area.

5. Make the Calapprenticeship.org website available to your clients for research on their pathway to success!