Saturday, April 12, 2014

Career - Construction Trades

The last in our Youth Career Day series...
  • Jimmy Fish, Executive Director, Oklahoma Building & Construction Trades Council   
  • William Bryles, President, AFSCME Local 2406, AFL-CIO  City, County & Municipal Workers of Oklahoma

Two routes to construction trades
(during or after graduation)
  • Career Technology Center
  • Apprenticeship Program

About fourteen different crafts are involved in the construction industry, e.g., electrician, carpenter, plumber, pipe fitter, bricklayer, insulator, iron worker, operating engineer, painter/decorator, sheet metal worker, and others.

Training is monitored and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
In 1971, motivated by his friends' making more money than he would have if he had finished college, Fish began looking at the trades industry. 

An apprentice learn a trade while working in a three- to five-year program and pays no cost for this training. He or she can also attend school.

Becoming a journeyman, an endorsement with a higher level of skill, accomplishment and income, has requirements and certificates [testing] beyond completing apprenticeship training.

  • Prepare yourself in math and science. Algebra, for example, is important in electrical training. 
  • Be a high school graduate.
  • Don't waste your high school years.
  • Get your G.E.D., even if you are an adult.
  • Prove you can 
            -  Be punctual 
            -  Be responsible
            -  Handle class

Competition for Jobs
Limitations exist on the number of positions available, perhaps 50 to 15. What do you need to be employed? Three things
  • Interview
  • Grades
  • Practical experience


* At technology centers, students can earn college credit.
Did you know? 
Six cranes helped build the Devon Tower, and each crane had a highly trained operator. At peak, 1,500 people worked on that building. (Bryles)

A minority of high school students know where they want to go and in what to focus. Those who have not determined a direction can attend career tech or a two-year college until deciding. While pursuing training or education, a minimum wage job allows a degree of independence while building experience and connections.

An adult went to a career tech center for welding at a cost of about $1,000. Although he earned a position as one of the two top welders of his class, his having taken welding at career tech while in high school and/or appropriate preparatory classes in high school would have saved time and money.

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