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For thousands of California workers, apprenticeship is the “escalator to the middle class,”... at no cost to taxpayers.
Jul 12, 2021

“An apprenticeship is the original four-year degree. That apprentice is also building a retirement fund and receiving full health insurance benefits.”—Cherie Cabral, secretary-treasurer of North Bay Building and Construction Trades

Construction industry apprenticeships enroll more students than any single college or university undergraduate program in California.

There are two types of construction apprenticeship programs— “joint” programs administered by trade unions and funded by a specified per-hour contribution from participating employers, and “employer-only” programs that are principally funded by voluntary contributions
from employers.

Joint apprenticeship programs train 92% of California’s apprentices.

Two-thirds of California apprentices are people of color.

Joint apprenticeships train 97% of female construction apprentices.

Joint apprenticeship invests hundreds of millions of dollars per year in training, while also spending more on training per student than “employer-only” counterparts.

Because of increased wages and lack of student debt, a construction apprenticeship can be a better option for many young people than a more traditional undergraduate program.

Graduates of joint apprenticeship programs earn more money immediately upon completion than graduates of “employer-only” programs.

"There are approximately 600,000 apprentices nationwide, and a good portion of those are in California. So we carry about one-sixth of the capacity of apprentices in the United States.." -Cherie Cabral, North Bay Building Trades

One of the huge benefits about an apprenticeship program, says Cabral, is they are gender- and ethnicity-blind. “Your wages are never in any way, shape or form different from your peers at the same level in the program. There is no deviation in pay. And everyone that reaches journey level also all earn the same––nobody has a pay advantage over someone else.

“For women that’s fantastic, because there are still so many industries where women are not paid as much as their male counterparts. With union trades and apprenticeship programs, that disparity is nonexistent. And by and large, you’ll be more financially solvent than coming out of college.”

One avenue into a construction apprenticeship is through the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program, which is administered in Washington, D.C., by the Department of Veterans Affairs and funded by the building trades. “Through our various union locals, we’ve placed more than 8,000 military service members in California from H2H,” says Cabral.

“Sometimes the veteran picks a particular trade or is absorbed into an apprenticeship program based on their skills coming out of the military. Some choose to start over and select another trade. They can also be accepted at journey level, if they have all the necessary skills. For instance, if they helped maintain heavy equipment in the military, they could be absorbed into the operating engineers union as a mechanic.”

Cabral sees the H2H program as an “express lane” for veterans wherever they fit best. “Veterans have more maturity than someone right out of high school, too. In fact, the average age entering most construction apprenticeships is 26 to 27.”

Read the entire article here:  https://www.northbaybiz.com/2021/07/12/journeying-into-jobs/

North Bay Building and Construction Trades Council
3473 Santa Rosa Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

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