...I signed up for my local's apprenticeship program yesterday. Unfortunately, I also found out the state of employment for union electricians in Philadelphia, PA.
Presently, there are 200 journeymen and 12 apprentices out of work in the area. And apprentices apparently don't get laid off unless things are really bad. Stupid economy.
Anyway, I'm going ahead with the application. I figure I've got little to lose at this point anyway, and much to gain. I went to an IT job fair in Philly a few weeks ago, and it was sad. 5 employers and over 300 applicants, many of them not having worked in the field for months. I see a dim future for most in the IT field for many years to come.
Now, if I can just remember where I misplaced my high school diploma...do you think the local will take my college diploma and transcripts in place of the high school ones?
This is not a good time for the large commercial/industrial contractors. Well, at least in my neck of the woods it's not. The supply houses around here are being flooded with applicants from all the union guys (and a few non-u) that are laid off right now.
All the resi guys are still busy, but even they are slowing down.
Re: Well, I did it....#24427 04/12/0302:59 PM04/12/0302:59 PM
This is the best time for starting! You'll get steady work for at least two years, and by then the construction situation should have improved enough to keep the apprentices busy. By the time you top out, work will be going stronger and you will have more job security.
The down side of this economic slump for your apprenticeship is that you will be pushed for production, and lose out on having co-workers spend extra time on the job teaching you things. Most everyone will be sort of under the gun for a while, and the journeymen you work with will be 'survivors'...so most likely looking at short term gains, foregoing the time and expense of doing a professional job in order to keep their jobs. Also, the contractors will be using you to do the more repetitious and easily trained tasks, so skill acquisition will be a bit constrained...at least until the competition for jobs loosens up. If your locale keeps apprentices working in one shop for several years, you might be stuck doing the same old crap, and whatever you do best will be something they stick you with. So, keep in mind that you might eventually have to un-learn bad habits picked up on the job, and lobby hard for new job experiences if they try to typecast you.
But...first things first...you still have to actually get into the program!
High school diplomas are a 'minimum' requirement, college records will suffice. But please don't think that a college degree will be a passport into the program. They will be looking for some proof of your having the right kind of attitude, and a history of a good work ethic, with emphasis on mechanical skills. They will be looking for some verification that you can actually deal with a physically demanding job and get along with all sorts of people under adverse conditions.
Best of luck, Macwire!
Re: Well, I did it....#24428 04/12/0307:55 PM04/12/0307:55 PM
FYI: There is a Local in NJ that would not accept anything other than my high school transcript and diploma. They said it is a State law. They were willing to let me have it faxed to them, but the school system from which I graduated (Philadelphia!) only sends transcripts via the mail.
If you are a fellow graduate of the Philly public schools, I can get the information to you to obtain your records. Better yet, stop by any school and ask them for the form--they are supposed to have them on hand.
Re: Well, I did it....#24429 04/13/0312:45 AM04/13/0312:45 AM
Thanks ThinkGood, but I didn't attend high school in the US. I attended in the Caribbean, Trinidad to be exact. I've been in email contact with the principal of my old high school down there, so I may be able to work something out with him regarding my records. Meanwhile, I'll have to contact my local to see how lenient they're willing to be with the school records rule.
Zappr, you mentioned them wanting proof of a right attitude and good work ethic, what's the best way to show that? I'll be sending in my resume along with my other records, but what else can I do?
Re: Well, I did it....#24430 04/14/0312:05 AM04/14/0312:05 AM
Referrals from supervisors or bosses that could be contacted and who are credible themselves. Referral or Nominating Letters should be typed and with all the words spelled correctly, if at all possible, with contact information and statements welcoming inquiry into their statements regarding you or your work (within legal limitations, of course).
Re: Well, I did it....#24431 04/15/0308:01 PM04/15/0308:01 PM
"Presently, there are 200 journeymen and 12 apprentices out of work in the area. And apprentices apparently don't get laid off unless things are really bad." This is true. However, the number of men on the book is relative to the size of the local. For example, those numbers in my local would be horrendously bad unemployment and I have never seen that many men on the book. But in say local 11 (Los Angeles) that would be full employment or a walk through as they say.(except for the apprentices) The difference is that my local has about 600 members where LA has more than 7000 last I knew. A certain percentage of the journeyman on book 1 have no intention of taking a call because they are working as inspectors or in maintenance jobs or something non wireman related and are keeping their place on the book just in case. In my local that number is about 40. It seems to be a pretty common percentage in other locals too. How many members are there in the local you are applying to? How long is it taking to get a call off book 1?
Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. They don’t generally like union related issues here because they tend to become a pretty hot topic to say the least. Good luck to you.
Re: Well, I did it....#24433 04/17/0312:15 PM04/17/0312:15 PM
Unfortunately I can't find out how many journeymen are "on book" because that info is not given to non-union members Being that Philadelphia is a good-sized city, I'd guesstimate the local has a couple thousand journeymen on book.
But I'd actually have to be in the union to get exact numbers. Unless some kind member of IBEW 98 on this board could find out and email me privately
[This message has been edited by macwire (edited 04-17-2003).]