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ABC apprenticeship training program

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The new ABC Training Academy features state-of-the-art classrooms and a vast hands-on lab facility (pictured throughout this issue). The ABC Training Academy offers apprenticeship and craft training in electrical, plumbing, pipefitting, sheet metal/HVAC, electronic services technician. Continuing education focuses on journeyman and management education.

ABC San Diego Sweeps National Convention! A record number of medals and awards were bestowed upon the San Diego Chapter during the 2004 ABC National Convention, held earlier this year in Honolulu, Hawaii. One of the Convention highlights is the ABC Craft Championships. Over 120 of the industry?s top craft professionals representing nearly a dozen different trades competed in an exhilarating two-day construction skills competition. The distinguished competition draws some of the most talented craftspeople in the country each year and emphasizes the important role craft skills training plays in construction. Selected during a local competition, San Diego sent its best apprentices in sheet metal, plumbing and electrical to represent the Chapter in Hawaii. These three individuals competed against other seasoned apprentices from all parts the country, with outstanding results -- San Diego took top honors. Charles O?Neal (left) with R.J. Lanthier Corp, a first semester, third-year student, competed against fourth-year and recent journeyman graduates to win the Silver Medal in the sheet metal competition. William Parker (right) with Pacific Rim Mechanical Contractors won the Silver Medal in the plumbing competition, and Donald Wagner (center) with Bergelectric Corp. took the Gold Medal in electrical.

Just one short year ago, ABC made the decision to purchase a new training facility. The success of the apprenticeship, craft training, management and supervisory training programs had created a wonderful problem -- we had outgrown our classroom and lab space. We located a brand new facility in the Poway area and began a fast-track tenant improvement construction project. The building was approximately 36,000 square feet, but the decision was made to add another 11,000 square feet in classroom space, which required building out a second floor. The buildout required an aggressive construction timetable in order to start winter semester classes at the new facility. But, just four short months from closing on the property, Good & Roberts, general contractors for the project, had us in the facility. We literally were setting up tables and chairs in the classrooms an hour before the first apprentices arrived for class, but we were in. The new San Diego ABC Training Academy houses the corporate offices and has ample meeting room space. The heart of the facility, however, features 15 classrooms and approximately 20,000 square feet of lab space where students can receive hands-on training to complement the technical coursework. The last few months have been spent in acquiring the appropriate tools and equipment to provide a state of the art training laboratory for apprentices and craft trainees. Training labs are available for sheet metal/HVAC, plumbing, pipefitting, electrical, electronic system technician (low voltage), and carpentry, with welding soon to be completed.

How would you like to: Improve and upgrade the quality of your work force? Train skilled craftworkers for the future of your business? Reduce employee turnover and absenteeism? Increase productivity and safety on the job?

Dealing with increased competition, finding and keeping good people, managing new technology -- these are some of the recurring issues facing the construction industry today. Companies continue to struggle to find qualified people at both the craft and supervisory levels. These issues affect profit and productivity -- the bottom line. Fortunately, the San Diego Associated Builders & Contractors has a variety of programs to help you solve the problem of training your work force for the future. And we have a wonderful new training academy to accommodate your employees.

Registered apprenticeship ABC San Diego has state-registered apprenticeship programs in electrical, sheet metal (HVAC), plumbing and pipefitting. These programs are approved by the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards and meet all the requirements for contractors performing prevailing wage work. Why apprenticeship instead of an informal method of training? ABC apprentices are enrolled in a structured, documented training program, which meets California and federal standards. Formal apprenticeship gives workers versatility by teaching them all aspects of a trade. It combines the employer's on-the-job training with the ABC's lab and classroom technical training needed to progress in the trade. It helps them to learn to work with different kinds of people in actual working situations. It familiarizes them with the overall picture of a company's operation and organization. A structured program of apprenticeship earns graduates recognition as skilled workers. Graduates of the San Diego apprenticeship program earn their California journeyman certificates as well as academic college credits leading to a degree from the San Diego Community College District. Our program is approved by the Veterans Administration for Veterans Education Benefits. By entering into the ABC apprenticeship program, retired veterans can use their VA benefits to become formally trained in a second career -- thereby providing veterans with an additional source of income. In addition to enrolling your existing employees in the apprenticeship program, ABC may be able to refer potential apprentices to you for employment. ABC works with high school and community college counselors, local minority and female community groups, and various other media to recruit quality candidates who are interested in a construction career.

Craft training Not interested in the formal registered apprenticeship program, but want skilled training for your employees? ABC provides classroom training opportunities in the areas of electronic system technician (low voltage), electrician, plumber, pipefitter and sheet metal (HVAC). Students enrolled in the ABC Craft Training Program also earn San Diego Community College credits for successful completion of classes.

Management, safety, supervisory training ABC offers a variety of management and supervisory training classes including refresher courses for specific trades. For instance, we currently have ongoing classes to better prepare electricians for the upcoming state certification testing requirements.

For the future of your business, invest in your employees Improving the skill level of employees is a strong first step for construction firms looking to develop and retain skilled workers. It's a long-term investment with great results. The ABC San Diego training programs can be a vehicle for you to attract and retain good employees by providing them with training, recognized credentials, and genuine career opportunities in your company. It will pay off! I sometimes hear the concern from contractors, "What if I train them and they leave?" The bigger question should be, "What if you don't train them and they stay?!"

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