California Kicks Off Apprenticeship Campaign

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration recently highlighted a new campaign to recruit apprentices for public works projects funded by bonds that will help California rebuild its infrastructure and keep the economy growing.

The "I Built It" public awareness/education campaign made its Southern California debut yesterday at the Laborer’s Training and Retraining Trust Fund of Southern California (Laborer’s Training School) in Azusa.

Through events, television public service announcements, and a new Web site, the campaign urges anyone interested in high-wage careers in the building trades to follow the age-old "earn while you learn" apprenticeship path, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

"There are hundreds of thousands of jobs being generated for apprentices by the release of this infrastructure bond money," said John Duncan, Department of Industrial Relations director. "We'll need every able-bodied person who wants to work outdoors with their hands to get these projects built."

Under California law, one apprentice for every five journeymen is required to be employed on all public works job. In addition, the state is projected to have a major labor shortage in many of the building trades due to retirements of highly skilled baby boomers. An estimated 200,000 new apprentices will be needed over the next 10-12 years.

Within the next six years California will need:

  • More than 73,000 carpenters who will earn a median wage of $23 per hour.
  • 25,000 plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, and electricians who will earn a median wage of $22-$23 per hour.
  • 15,000 operating engineers who will earn a median wage of more than $27 per hour.

There is also a need for laborers, cement masons, concrete finishers and ironworkers to build the bridges, highways, schools, levees, and housing the state will need over the next 10-12 years.

For more information, go to www.dir.ca.gov/das.

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