Apprenticeship training centers offer alternative path

Like most kids, students from Clairton High School knew little if anything about the jobs Sprinklerfitters do before visiting Local 542’s  Pittsburgh training center. But after learning about their work, Ivori, a sophomore exploring post-secondary options, was excited—she thought she might like to do it herself. Not only did the prospect of “helping protect people from fires” hold appeal, she also said she liked the idea of a job where “I can work with my hands.”

Ivori was one of more than 90 students who explored opportunities for apprenticeship training in November as part of our College & Career Knowledge program.

During CCK’s latest session, three different crafts hosted visits so that students from four different schools got the chance to learn about apprenticeships in the building trades. Along with Sprinklerfitters Local 542, programs that opened their doors were the Laborers’ District Council of Western Pennsylvania training center in Saxonburg and Sheetmetal Workers Local 12 training center in Harmarville. Participating schools included Clairton City, Pittsburgh Brashear, Albert Gallatin Area and Yough high schools.

Like Ivori, Martay, a junior at Pittsburgh Brashear, said he was interested in learning about training that is “hands on,” adding “I’m not big on sitting in school.” Both he and his classmate, Andre, said they were really happy to find out how many apprenticeship programs the region offers and about the solid incomes journeymen in any of the building trades can expect to earn. Andre said he was hoping he might get to visit the training center for carpenters on an upcoming CCK session.

The region has 17 different apprenticeship training programs. Students visiting them never fail to be surprised to learn that, instead of paying for training, apprentices are paid for their work while they learn their crafts.