Training a Carpenter Workforce for the 21st Century
Training is the keystone of our rapidly changing industry, and Northern California carpenters are trained to work safely, productively and, through continuous training, to keep pace with new technology and new ways of working.
In Northern California, training is the responsibility of the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California (CTCNC), operated jointly by the Carpenters Union and signatory employers. CTCNC provides up-to-date training for everything from high school classes and pre-apprenticeship programs to advanced leadership and technical education.
Here’s how we do it:
Students from the Fresno area high schools are hosted at an annual career fair sponsored by Harris Construction.
Students from Stockton’s Lincoln High School Engineering and Construction Academy visit a construction job site.
A career in the construction industry—with rewarding work, good pay, good working conditions, health insurance and retirement—isn’t a hard sell. The Carpenters Training Committee partners with dozens of Northern California high schools, community colleges, government agencies and community-based organizations to recruit the next generation.
We regularly sponsor career fairs and other forms of outreach. We reach out to women and residents of underserved communities. Our programs in state prisons have made it possible for many of formerly incarcerated men and women to build a new life.
The intense boot camp atmosphere at the Carpenters Pre-Apprenticeship program often creates important and lasting support groups for young carpenters.
A pre-apprentice at San Francisco’s Life Learning Academy works with the Carpenters virtual welder.
A student at the Cypress-Mandela Training Center, in Oakland, gets some coaching on framing technique.
Recruits must complete a six-week pre-apprenticeship—an intense six-week boot-camp based on our rigorous curriculum. They will learn basic construction math, the safe use of hand and power tools, and the fundamentals of framing and other basic tasks. They must past a skills test—measuring, cutting, drilling and nailing. They must demonstrate the commitment and the other intangible qualities they need to succeed in our industry.
At the Carpenters Training Center in Fresno, a student works with surveying equipment.
Working with a CTCNC instructor, an apprentice learns about the latest in building envelope technology.
An apprentice at the Morgan Hill Training Center goes over her record in a one-on-one meeting with a CTCNC staff member.
CTCNC maintains five fully equipped training centers throughout Northern California. Our apprenticeship coordinators and instructors are veteran construction workers, trained as educators, with a gift for transmitting their knowledge.
We offer 36-hour programs in carpentry, drywall/lathing, pile driving, millwrighting, mill and cabinet making, scaffolding, acoustical installation, modular installation, hardwood floor laying, and insulation. Each of these programs combines classroom learning and hands-on training. We keep up as the industry changes, for example, adding PlanGrid and Bluebeam training to our blueprint classes.
For example, apprentices in our bridge building class build a 30’ x 30’ section of a lost-deck overpass and learn to read Caltrans blueprints. Pile driver and millwright apprentices, among others, will take a course in rigging that includes practicing signaling with an actual crane.
Apprentices attend classes four times a year, steadily increasing their skill level until they complete eight “periods.”
We support our apprentices as they learn their way around our complex industry. Each apprentice has at least four one-on-one meetings with a staff member every year, at one of our apprenticeship centers and on the job, to sort out any issues, and to make sure they are progressing. We meet regularly with their foremen and superintendents to assess their work. We are committed to training and retaining the best and most productive possible workforce.
A special blueprint reading class for veteran carpenters at Kaiser Permanente.
A journeylevel Armstrong Drywall Soffit class.
Only by continued training can our members keep up with a changing industry and advance their careers. The journey-level program offers classes to help members acquire new skills and learn new technologies, for example the setup and use of total station instruments. We work with employers to develop classes they may need for a specific job, and we often will visit a jobsite to do on-the-job training. We also offer advanced health and safety classes including OSHA 10 & 30, forklift and aerial lift with UBC certifications, and First Aid/CPR.
Journey-level training is usually available nights and on weekends, so working members can attend. The classes, books and materials are free to any member, journeyperson or apprentice.
The Carpenters International Training Center
Overview of the 17-acre Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas.
Doug McCarron, president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, meets with a class on the future of the construction industry at the International Training Center.
For an introduction to the state of the art Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas, press Control /click to follow this link
Overview of Programs & Facilities
Union members have access to the Carpenters International Training Center (CITC), in Las Vegas. On 17 acres, with 300 guest rooms, dining and recreation facilities, 60,000 square feet of shop space, conference space that can accommodate groups of up to 800, and 40 classrooms, the CITC looks and feels like a sophisticated college campus. Features include an underwater welding dive tank, four overhead bridge cranes, a pile driver pit, concrete forms, a mechatronics lab, a turbine pit, scaffolding mockups and a 30’ x 60’ retractable roof.
The ITC supplements local training centers with advanced classes in basic carpentry, turbine repair and other millwright work, bridge and highway construction, pile driving, floor and ceiling installation, concrete and steel, doors and hardware, scaffolding, building envelope technology, mill and cabinet work, and more. The Center also provides train-the-trainer sessions, as well as leadership and communication classes.
Since opening in 2001, the ITC has provided training to more than 100,000 people.
We’re proud of what we do and how we do it. We want our signatory employers to succeed. The CITC is the embodiment of commitment of the Carpenters Union and its signatory employers to the future of our industry.