Apprenticeship is a work force training concept designed to prepare an individual for occupations in the skilled trades and crafts. Apprenticeship programs have withstood the test of time as a way to effectively train workers in a skilled trade or craft. These programs are similar to college and can take from one to as many as seven years to complete depending on which trade or craft is chosen.
An Apprentice is an individual who develops marketable job skills in a structured training program who possess the aptitude, physical condition and desire to succeed in a specific trade or craft. Apprentices work with experienced journeypersons on the job and receive an hourly wage and other benefits while learning their chosen trade or craft. On the job training is supplemented by classroom instruction.
Apprenticeship programs are operated under the authority of Joint Apprenticeship Committees (JAC) or Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC) composed of an equal number of employer and union representatives. Authority is established in an Apprenticeship Labor Standards Agreement adopted by the JAC or JATC. These standards contain rules and regulations for conducting an apprenticeship program and detail the duties and responsibilities of the local JAC or JATC.
There are approximately 650 individuals enrolled as Automotive Apprentices across Northern California working full-time and attending automotive-related classes at a community college. Automotive Apprentices can work in the field of Auto & Truck Mechanics, Auto Body, Auto Paint, Truck and Trailer Repair, Service Advisor, Heavy Equipment Mechanic and Part Counter Person.
For more information, contact:
Automotive Trades Apprenticeship Program
Apprenticeship Applications will be accepted Monday through Thursday (except holidays) from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
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Looking at new ways to fund apprenticeship training
For the first time in history, President Obama mentioned "apprenticeship" in his State of the Union speech last February. Underscoring his commitment to apprenticeship, the government is offering $100 million to be earmarked for apprenticeship programs. This money is from a fund paid for by employers who are seeking H1B visas for foreign employees. The goal is to have today's foreign workers fund tomorrow's home-grown talent, and the IAM is looking to be part of that trend.
Jon Fowkes, who serves as the District 190's Coordinator of Apprenticeship Programs is working all the angles to get the IAM apprenticeship programs prepared to win some of the new grants.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) has not yet been released, but initial guidelines indicate that the funds will go to three industries: advanced manufacturing, medical and IT. Each funded program must be structured so that it can be replicated across the country.
"We think the automotive model, utilizing community colleges, would work in any industry where the local colleges have already identified jobs they wish to provide training support," explains Fowkes, who was asked by the head of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards to be the point person for California's advanced manufacturing proposal. "We're preparing to submit either regional or statewide proposals and are already developing partnerships of labor, employers, government, and community colleges," Fowkes says, adding that he already has two grant writers lined up and ready to go.
"The most important lesson we've learned from past grants that we've won is that, to be successful, this must be demand-driven. That means, we've got to get the employer buy-in from the start to ensure they're committed to hiring the people we train. And then, we can be the bridge between the colleges and the employers."
Another component of this model is to go to the K12 schools, and by brining in the California Teachers Association, Fowkes is on top of that aspect as well. "We'll focus on educating the educators to promote apprenticeship and to steer high school kids to a career in the trades."
Getting grants is a new focus for the IAM's apprenticeship program, but perhaps a necessary one. Fowkes says that he's done all he can to cut the program's costs, but unless a very large new group of employers joins the training fund, it won't be sustainable in the long run. "We've got to look for new opportunities and be entrepreneurial," he says.
The federal RFP is coming out any day now and the grants will be awarded in the winter.
Building interest in German cars
Another interesting idea that Fowkes is pursuing is that the German government is looking to partner with American unions to get young people interested in the automotive trades. In particular, they want to help train technicians to work on German cars, so that they can sell more of them in the U.S.
The IAM is looking into developing apprenticeship programs in the Los Angeles area and is also trying to get auto shops back into the LA high schools. A big component of this program will be marketing and business development. "In order to be successful, we'll need to get the German manufacturers to encourage their US dealers to take advantage of the union apprenticeship programs," Fowkes says.
Creating apprenticeships at the port
Finally, Fowkes has been working with Local 1484 Business Rep Kevin Kucera to pen a deal with SSA Terminals to start an apprenticeship program for techs. LA Trade Tech is eager to be the education partner, but he's also looking at Cerritos and Long Beach Community Colleges because they're closer. Watch for more details on this soon.
New Website To Showcase
Congrats to Graduating Apprentices
The following Local 653 members are now officially journeymen: Jose Reyes. Fresno Truck Center; Sim Sarth, Fresno Dodge; Eric Davis, Hedrick's Chevrolet; Adan Cervantes, Sun-Maid; and Omero Avalos, Fresno Truck Center. Congratulations one and all for your dedication and hard-work.