March 31, 2000


Construction Trades Career Opportunities Never Better for Women, Minorities

San Diego's thriving economy combined with unprecedented growth in the region is providing countless opportunities for beginning careers in the building and construction trades. Now, with the support of the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO and its JOBLINKS Building & Construction Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Training, more women and minorities have a chance to take reap the rewards of learning these trades.

The JOBLINKS program seeks to fill the increasing need for more trained workers in the Building & Construction trades during this period of continuous growth in San Diego.

JOBLINKS targets economically disadvantaged men and women, 22 years of age or older, living with the San Diego county and provides employment opportunities in this growing field through the training courses for the various trades. Partnering with JOB-LINKS, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council's Training Development Division is conducting an extensive outreach focusing on minority communities and bringing more women into what has been considered a `non-traditional' area of employment.

Art Lujan, business manager of the Business & Construction Trades Council states, "We are committed to having the Building & Construction Trades workforce reflect the diversity of the San Diego community."

The JOBLINKS program, funded by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, Inc., conducts a six-week, 192 hour course developed by the Building & Construction Trades Council staff. During each week, 16 hours is spent in classroom training, and 16 hours in paid work experience. Training is intended to give the participants a clear understanding of the fifteen apprentice and training programs offered by the local building and construction trade unions. Classes are designed to assist in preparing the participants for the apprenticeship entrance exams and interviews. The classes utilize an innovative and exciting style of training that is conducted by instructors from the trades and gives the participant both classroom and `hands on' experience.

Each craft represented by the Council has its own apprenticeship program that offers structured training in both the classroom and on-the-job environments. These apprenticeships vary in length, from 3 to 5 years, depending on the craft. Over the nearly year and a half program, JOBLINKS intends to prepare at least 160 individuals to enroll in one of the local union's fifteen apprenticeship or training program and learn the trade while receiving good wage and outstanding benefits.

According to Jerry Butkie-wicz, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, "It is to the entire community's advantage to provide a qualified workforce for San Diego, developed from within the population of San Diego."

Rather than hiring outside the area, JOBLINKS will provide skilled workers already living in San Diego.

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