Local Union 228 held its first ever Union Apprentices Trades Day on April 6 to expose area high school students to a variety of trade-oriented careers and the benefits of pursuing these lines of work.
Training coordinator Beth Hammes said that the goal for this event was to show students that a number of career options that they may not have considered are available to them.
“It’s important for them to know that there are options out there where they can have a good career with health care, a 401K and benefits,” Hammes said.
The plumbers and pipefitters union invited every high school in the Yuba-Sutter area to meet with representatives of 10 trades careers throughout the day. Around 145 junior and senior students attended in total, Hammes said.
Students were encouraged to participate in hands-on projects that demonstrated aspects of the work that is done through a specific trade. Some activities involved performing smaller tasks like tying rig knots and arranging measurement units down to a fraction of an inch. Other activities allowed students to get hands-on with heavy equipment.
Operating engineers from Local Union 3 offered students a chance to operate compact machinery and ironworkers from Local Union 118 let students scale a climbing column, which allows workers to perform jobs at high points.
Each trade representative also provided information about apprenticeship opportunities and the benefits associated with their careers. Hammes said that the One Stops from Yuba and Sutter counties were also invited to talk with students about trade work opportunities that are available to them locally.
Robert Kuks, a labor trustee with the Northern California Valley Sheet Metals Workers’ Training Center, said that like many trade unions in the area, prior knowledge or experience with metal working isn’t necessary before starting an apprenticeship.
“I didn’t know anything about sheet metal working or any of this before I started, but I was taught everything I needed to know, and now I build auto mechanics,” Kuks said.
All schools in the Yuba-Sutter area were invited to attend the trades fair, and Hammes hopes to give the opportunity to more schools in future career events.
“Because it was our first year, we wanted to invite all schools in the immediate area, but we plan to reach out further next year,” Hammes said.