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Trades Introduction Program Celebrates First Group of Pre-Apprenticeship Graduates

The first 20 graduates of the Trades Introduction Program (TIP San Mateo) were honored at a completion ceremony January 9 at the IBEW Local 617 union hall in San Mateo. Pictured here along with SM Community College trustees and union representatives

February 2015

The first 20 graduates of the Trades Introduction Program (TIP San Mateo) were honored at a completion ceremony January 9 at the IBEW Local 617 union hall in San Mateo. TIP San Mateo is a certificated, 90-hour pre-apprenticeship training course that introduces the trainees to the wide variety of construction trades in partnership with area union apprenticeship programs, community and education partners.

In welcoming the graduates, their families, friends, labor and community leaders, Instructor Dan Pasini called the inaugural TIP class “the future of the labor movement, building a monument to a good working life”

The Labor Council’s Community Services Director Rayna Lehman said that in addition to exploring what each trade has to offer, the graduates also learned about the history of the construction industry and the importance of unions. She said the TIP training will prepare students to be viable candidates with a goal of successful application to a certified union apprenticeship program. Classes include basic math, basic blueprint reading, OSHA 10 and First Aid/CPR certifications, tools and materials—skills that will enhance their chances of successful entry into a certified apprenticeship program.

The Labor Council’s non-profit, the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance, is one of several sponsoring organizations for TIP San Mateo, along with the Building and Construction Trades Council of San Mateo County, the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards, Bay Area Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, San Mateo County Community College District, and the San Mateo Workforce Investment Board.

TIP San Mateo uses the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum developed by the national building trades department. It is a standardized pre-apprenticeship curriculum, applicable to all building trades. The trainees are then able choose an appropriate career path for their skills and interests.

Instructor Dan Pasini, President of IBEW Local 617, said the graduates will have a good understanding of the nature of the construction industry and its various trades.

San Mateo County Community College District Trustees Patricia Miljanich, Thomas Mohr, and Karen Schwarz attended the graduation, congratulated the graduates and all stressed the role of good union jobs that are family-supporting.

Rev. Kirsten Snow Spalding spoke on behalf of SMCUCA and offered words of inspiration for the students as they pursue careers. “By taking this course and sticking with it to the end, you have begun a journey of hope,” she said. “You undertook this course with the hope that this course would lead you into a career in the construction trades or related industries. I think that your hope was not just for a job, but for a career that would build your skills, and give you income to support your families.

“Maybe now you can imagine the kind of work that you’d like to do, what kinds of projects you’d like to work on, what kinds of tools you’d like to use, what kinds of people you’d like to spend your days with,” Spalding said. “Maybe you can now imagine your worksites. Maybe now you can begin to imagine yourself working as hard at a job as you did at this course, and feeling the satisfaction of doing important work, creative work, collaborative work and doing it well. Maybe you can now imagine the buildings you’ll construct, the projects that you’ll be able to point to with pride and say to your friends and families, ‘I built that.’ By completing this course, you’ve demonstrated that you are smart enough, you’re hardworking enough, focused enough, skilled enough to learn the skills and achieve your hopes, your dreams.”

Spalding noted that the idea began with a group of Building and Construction Trades leaders working together to get a better pool of applicants for apprenticeship programs. “TIP is our first attempt at doing something in the workforce development world that has never been tried before around here,” she said. “TIP links the community college directly with the apprenticeships to engage the unions, bring in the workforce development system, and to find community funding and support.”

TIP San Mateo fulfills the hopes of the organizers and confirms that by working together, integrating different funding streams and training resources and building towards an integrated system, we do a better job—giving students relevant training and linking that training directly to jobs, Spalding said. “By this pilot course we’ve demonstrated that our partnership is solid and that we can do training together in a better way than any of us could do alone.”

Building Trades union representatives, SM Community College trustees, and community members celebrated the first graduates of the Trades Introduction Program at a completion ceremony January 9 at the IBEW Local 617 union hall in San Mateo.

Lehman said the program has received state and federal funding—from the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Partnership, Prop 39/California Workforce Investment Board and PG&E. SMCUCA has submitted a funding proposal to San Mateo County, asking the County to continue funding these classes through 2017. “We believe that County tax dollars should be spent on this kind of training—training that will build the construction industry, create good workers to replace all those construction workers who are ready to retire in the next few years,” Spalding said. Through Working PartnershipsUSA, south bay residents can also access similar pre apprenticeship training.

The training course that began last September is the first of four to be held in San Mateo County; TIP Course 2 began January 21. Recruitment for the next classes will be held this Spring. TIP San Mateo is prioritizing recruitment of veterans, women, underrepresented low-income workers and disadvantaged youth for enrollment. There is no fee for the course.

For more information: contact Rayna Lehman, Community Services Director at 650 341-7711.




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