Oregon/SW Washington & Idaho Construction Apprenticeship Programs

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are like college, but much more hands-on and without the thousands of dollars in student debt–that’s right, programs are fully funded by union membership. While there is some bookwork and class-time involved, you learn on the job under the guidance of a journeyman, a skilled worker of that trade.

Unlike internships, which are often unpaid and necessary for entry into most fields, you earn while you learn–from the first day you become an apprentice you are paid for your hard work. Apprentices are usually paid at about 50% of the journeyman rate of pay to start, but wages increase periodically (usually every six months) until you reach that full journeyman rate.

Apprenticeships can yield a life-long, rewarding career

It takes 2 to 4 years to complete a program (about the same amount of time to earn an Associates or Bachelor’s degree). Apprentices in the construction training program first become a first-period apprentice, advancing all the way up to eighth-period, before they become a full-fledged journeyman carpenter.

Knowledge and training is what puts a skilled carpenter above other workers

The training at these centers are innovative, combining classroom instruction with hands-on training. This training supplements the experience they gain while working on-the-job with journeymen carpenters.

Apprenticeship coordinators manage the programs and monitor the progress of students who enter the various trade disciplines. This ensures that apprentices understand what they’re learning and are ready to move into the next period.

So, what sort professions are available to apprentices?


What is a Pile Driver?

If you like working outside with large equipment, heavy materials, and having a good story about that time you completed a job even under extreme weather conditions, then you will like the hearty occupation of the Pile Driver.

Click to apply for the Pile Driver Apprenticeship program at PNCI

Usually, Pile Drivers (also known as Pile Bucks) are the first workers to arrive on a construction site. Using heavy machinery, they drive steel, concrete, or wood piling into the ground during the early stages of construction. Skill is crucial to both a project’s success and the safety of workers, since piling is necessary to hold back the earth during excavations; to set up the foundations of skyscrapers, highways, and bridges; and to build docks and wharves.

Pile Drivers are experts at tackling this challenge, beginning with preinstallation inspections of materials and job sites. Pile Drivers are skilled at determining load-carrying capacities; gauging hammer performance for driving piles into the ground; and accommodating lateral, compression, or tension loads.

Some Pile Drivers are also commercial divers, responsible for underwater construction required by many industries, such as power generation at dams or construction.


What is a Millwright?

If you enjoy working with machine tools and precision instruments and you have a keen eye for the perfect fit, you might consider the path of a millwright.

Click to apply for the Millwright Apprenticeship program at PNCI

Millwrights are an elite group of construction workers who mainly work with machinery and equipment requiring precision. Millwrights install, maintain, diagnose, and repair equipment such as compressors; pumps; conveyor systems; gas and steam turbines; monorails; and extruders.

They can be found performing mission-critical work at goal, gas, nuclear, and alternative-energy power plants. Their skills are vital in industries as diverse as automotive, aerospace, food processing, and pharmaceuticals.

Attention to detail is an important skill for millwrights, who sometimes work with exact specifications that come down to a thousandth of an inch. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) has ongoing training and skill-enhancement classes that ensure members are experts in the use of tools and instruments vital to their job. Led by a national labor-management committee, the UBC’s millwright program actively works with industry partners to ensure that UBC millwrights continue to meet and exceed customer expectations.


If you’re interested in learning more about the other trades at PNCI, click here or email PNCI for more informationhere.


Did You Know?

PNWRCC has many women in our crafts and leadership positions.

Margaret Ellings became the first woman initiated into the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in October 1935. The establishment of a women’s committee within the United Brotherhood of Carpenters is one of the most important developments in the union’s recent history. Visit ubcsisters.org

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