Four years degrees are not for everyone. But that is why there is the ‘alternative four your degree’ – apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer non-skilled workers the ability to gain knowledge and experience in their field of choice while also getting paid. Completing an apprenticeship provides otherwise unskilled workers with the skills and knowledge they need to obtain prosperous lifelong careers. Apprenticeships are excellent for those just completing high school or for those who are interested in chancing careers. Here are just some of the opportunities that exist in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Carpenters Apprenticeship Training and Educational Fund sponsors a variety of apprenticeships in a number of carpentry related trades. They offer training in Kenilworth, Hammonton, and Trenton in New Jersey. For the apprenticeship, individuals are required to complete four years (or 8000 hours) of on-the-job training. Additionally, they must complete 800 hours of classroom instruction.
Skills required for a variety of work is taught and overseen by a skilled journeyman in real-life situations. Among the classroom work that is required is an OSHA safety course, a scaffold course, an ergonomics course, as well as a course in CPR and emergency first aid training. The specific trades within carpentry that can be learned include millwright, residential carpenter, floorlayer, cabinetmaker and millworker.
Apprentices are required to come prepared to work with proper clothing and work boots. Additionally they are responsible for bringing any hand tools that may be needed. In order to be considered for the apprenticeship, applicants must take a test to see if they qualify. Those who pass are then placed on the waiting list. Actually getting awarded the apprenticeship is somewhat competitive. Apprentices start earning wages immediately, usually starting at 50% of a journeyman’s full salary plus fringe benefits such as health insurance and a pension plan. Pay raises are increased at regular intervals and when the apprentice has successfully completed the program, he or she is raised to journeyman status with full pay.
In Monroe Township in New Jersey, the Laborer’s Union offers apprenticeships to potential workers. Apprentices learn how to work as part of a construction team and learn skills through both classroom instruction and hands on training. Depending on the work available, apprentices may repair or build roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, and residential or commercial buildings. Apprentices will learn all skills required to complete these jobs such as drilling site areas, building scaffolds, preparing and cleaning up a job site, laying underground pipe, flagging and controlling highway traffic, placing concrete, removing asbestos and much more.
Classroom instruction includes anything that may be helpful for job site work such as math skills, safety, CPR, first aid, blueprint reading and a lot more. Classroom instructions and on the job training are down simultaneously, with classroom instruction usually occurring one or two evenings a week. To complete the entire apprenticeship, individuals must complete 4000 hours of on-site training and 400 hours of classroom work.
For the on the job training, apprentices are overseen by skilled journeyworkers through all aspects of the job. Once the program has been completed successfully, apprentices may be elevated to journeyworker status and begin earning full journeyman wages. Throughout the program, apprentices earn wages starting at 50% of a full journeyworkers salary and increasing incrementally as they progress through the program. Additionally, apprentices gain other benefits such as becoming a union member, earning fringe benefits such as a pension and health insurance and also learning a lifelong skill that can lead to a prosperous career in the construction industry.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development sponsors a training program for apprentices to learn skills for green jobs. The goal of the program is to train workers for new jobs that will be created with the state’s new energy plan. The training prepares workers for entry-level and advanced green jobs in energy efficiency occupations and the goal is to provide unskilled or low income workers with opportunities for better jobs.
Those who complete the program are qualified for jobs that may include building analyst, assistant air sealer and insulation installers. This program lasts eight to ten weeks and touches on basic skills such as math and English literacy, life and job readiness skills, environmental sustainability, financial management, OSHA training, and vocational skills for those jobs that were named above.
Apprentices earn money while they learn a new trade and gain valuable lifelong skills. Those who complete the program are given the tools and knowledge they need to apply for and obtain much sought after union apprenticeships. Since union apprenticeships are so competitive, this program offers valuable experience and training that can make a union apprentice applicant stand out from all the rest.