What does “Apprenticeship” mean?
An apprentice is someone who is learning a craft or trade through a combination of on-the- job training (OJT) and classroom instruction. Apprentices work on jobsites with journeymen and take classes taught by instructors who have spent many years in the field. Apprentices are registered with the State of California and receive special status.
Which apprenticeship program should I apply for?
The Construction Craft Laborer (CCL) program is our biggest program that offers the most opportunity. The other programs are usually for apprentices who are sponsored by a particular specialty contractor. The information below pertains to the CCL program.
Who is eligible to be an apprentice?
In order to participate in the Laborers apprenticeship program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must be physically able to perform construction type work
- Must have the ability to communicate safely on the jobsite
- Must pass a drug test
- Must have a valid California driver’s license
How do I get in the apprenticeship program?
Applications are accepted from March 1 through June 30. All applicants are invited to a one-day orientation that is usually held in San Ramon. Here, you will get additional information about how the program operates. Candidates will also participate in a hands-on skills assessment and an oral interview. Those who receive a passing score are placed on a ranked list according to their score. You may remain on the list for up to two years. Your time on the list may vary depending on how great the need for additional apprentices is.
What kind of work will I do as an Apprentice Laborer?
Laborers perform over a hundred different types of work. Types of work include placing concrete, laying asphalt, performing underground work such as building storm drains and installing water mains, and helping to build structures such as schools, bridges and parks. Laborers also perform work such as flagging and traffic control.
How much money will I make as an apprentice?
Most likely you will start off as a step 1 apprentice and earn between $18.23 and $18.88 per hour depending on where you work. Every 600 to 700 hours you work you will get an increase as long as you are following the rules of the apprenticeship program and receiving good marks from your employer(s). After working 4,000 hours and completing six weeks of school, you will graduate from the apprenticeship program.
How much does it cost to become an apprentice?
It costs $479 to join. This covers your union initiation fee ($350) and three months of dues.
What if I have previous construction experience?
A committee will evaluate it and may give you credit for some or all of it which may allow you to start off at level two or three. This can potentially shorten your time in the program.
What if I know a contractor who wants to hire me as an apprentice?
We call that “sponsorship” and it is allowed any time of year. The contractor must be signatory to the Laborers Union. If you know a contractor who will sponsor you, the contractor should contact the apprenticeship program so we can get you enrolled.
Will I also need to take classes while an apprentice?
Yes. In addition to your OJT, you will also take classes for up to six weeks. The classes are typically held at our training center in San Ramon, but some courses are offered at local union offices throughout northern California. The training center in San Ramon also offers onsite rooms for those with long commutes. There is no cost to stay overnight.
Once I become an apprentice, how will I get a job?
When you join the apprenticeship program, you will also be joining the Laborers Union. Contractors who are affiliated with the Laborers Union will call the union to ask for apprentices when they need them. They are chosen in numerical order from a list. When it is your turn to be called, you will be sent (dispatched) to one of these contractors. Once the contractor has finished the project or does not need you any longer, you will return to the union and get back on the list to be dispatched again.
Can you guarantee me that I will get a job once I become an apprentice?
In the construction industry there are no guarantees. Opportunities for employment may vary due to economic conditions and weather.
What is a pre-apprenticeship program?
Pre-apprenticeship programs serve as a way to prepare individuals for apprenticeship programs. They offer training in life-skills, teamwork and construction. They last anywhere from 12 weeks to six months and can be found throughout northern California. They can provide a valuable foundation for someone wanting to join an apprenticeship program. Because of this, graduates of pre-apprenticeship programs are often given priority over those who have not completed such a program.
Where can I go for more information?
Our website is www.norcaltc.org. Once there, go to “Become an Apprentice.” There will be additional information including a list of recognized pre-apprenticeship programs with their contact information.