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ABC apprentice craft champions head to national competition

Winners compete head-to-head against leading apprentices, craft trainees at ABC National EdCon

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San Diego County has more than one set of champions in nationwide competition this spring. Three construction craft champions will represent San Diego Associated Builders and Contractors at the ABC National Craft Championships, held at the ABC National Education Convention & Expo in April in San Antonio, Texas. This prestigious competition brings together the top apprentices and trainees in the country who vie to be named “No. 1” in each of 13 trades.

A convention highlight, the ABC National Craft Championships event started in 1987 as a way to recognize the high quality of craft training in construction careers. The competition emphasizes the important role craft skills training plays in construction, by evaluating contestants’ knowledge of their craft as well as their skill and talent. Seasoned apprentices and craft trainees from around the country compete toe-to-toe to determine the top three craftpersons in each trade.

To compete in the national event, contestants must first successfully complete hundreds of hours of classroom training and thousands of hours of practical field experience to be eligible for preliminary local competitions.

Taking San Diego ABC’s top spots in the local competition were electrician apprentice Jacob Henselmeier of Bergelectric; plumbing apprentice Ryan Daley of California Comfort Systems; and Richard Raynor, sheet metal apprentice with Pacific Rim Mechanical. Henselmeier, Daley and Raynor face two days of competition in San Antonio. On day one, the competitors take an intense three-hour written exam. On day two, competitors must demonstrate their highest level of skill in grueling, timed, hours-long, hands-on competition.

Apprentices and craft trainees are assigned workspaces and given the plans, tools and materials they need to build professional projects. Judges observe and inspect the ongoing work being performed. When time is called, the judges move in for the final inspection. All of this takes place before a live audience. The results are announced in award ceremonies the following day.

Just like Olympic athletes, San Diego’s “Terrific Trio” is now training hard at the ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust facility in Poway, honing their skills for the competition.

“The pressure is high on our champions,” said Sherry Yarbrough, executive director of ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust. “San Diego has an excellent record at the nationals, winning 10 medals in the last eight competitions. It’s due to the high expectations we have in our training program for apprentices and trainees, day in and day out.

“The exceptional level of skill that contractors have come to expect from ABC Apprenticeship Training program graduates is also what makes them so successful in this competition year after year.”

For more information on Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust, contact Yarbrough at 858-513-4700.

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