AUSTIN (KXAN) — Workforce Solutions Capital Area and UA Local 286 Plumbers & Pipefitters are holding an open house event this Saturday to promote their local pre-apprenticeship class and encourage residents to pursue a career in a trade.
The Multi-Craft Core Curriculum Pre-Apprenticeship Program (MC3) is a two-week course that guides participants through a range of skills across the trades, first aid and safety, and OSHA certification.
Workforce Solutions Capital Area program manager Michelle Buford says that this program, developed by the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), offers a better entry into the trades.
“You went directly to a place, you go through an interview, maybe they take you…maybe you got put into an apprentice program if they liked you,” said Buford about how apprenticeships used to work, “And you incurred all costs, there was no other way in other than directly into those groups. When [NABTU] really looked at this process, it was to make sure we were training folks, getting them ready to get on the job, make sure they were getting a fair wage, make sure that they had that opportunity.”
The program is hands-on and union-led, training participants an introduction to the basic skills in all of the trades.
“Once they, if they are accepted into the program, they’re going to give them an opportunity to learn,” Buford said, “They can learn sheet metal, they can learn iron work, they can learn [from] plumbers and pipefitters, they can learn [from] electricians…this program gives them a chance to touch it all.”
Once a participant completes the program, they are hired as an apprentice in the Austin-area.
“After two weeks of training, guess what, you have a job, you’re earning money. So it’s just a small commitment, you’re talking, you know, about 80+ hours of your time, and then you’re out there doing the job you want to do,” Buford said.
Another of Workforce Solutions’ goals for the training is to help women enter a traditionally male-dominated field.
“We’d like to see more women in trades. The need is out there,” Buford said. “This is a great time for young folks…because the workforce in construction is between the ages of 35 and 64. That workforce is going to age out eventually. So we need some new blood in there.”
To register for the open house on Saturday, visit the event page. The Austin-based MC3 classes are only available for Travis County residents. Each class of the curriculum is only open to 15-30 people, but Buford said that they may add more classes depending on demand. Typically, the classes are held twice a year, during the winter and summer.