Labor and Workforce Development Agency announces record number of apprentices

Image from Northern California Construction Training (NCCT)

California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary David M. Lanier says that there are nearly 82,000 active apprentices in California – the highest number in the 79-year history of formal apprenticeship job training in the state.

In 2015, California had approximately 53,000 active apprentices and is on track to double the number by the end of 2020.

“Apprenticeship programs provide workers with paid on-the-job training that can lead to good paying careers and supply employers with skilled workers,” Lanier said in a statement. “We have made significant progress during this period of economic growth in strengthening existing apprenticeship opportunities – reflected by the nearly 50,000 apprentices in state-approved apprenticeships in the building trades – and in creating new programs in high-growth industries.”

California is home to the nation’s largest and fastest-growing apprenticeship system. According to the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTCC), the state-supported apprenticeships make more jobs available for young people out of high school.

“California has a highly trained and streamlined workforce of 450,000 men and women who are ready to build public infrastructure and private projects while earning middle-class wages – which enables them to buy a home, support a family and drive our economy,” said SBCTCC president Robbie Hunter. “Apprentices who learn skilled trades will be the workers of the future who keep California’s economy strong.”

California has invested $15 million each year over the past three years through the California Apprenticeship Initiative to promote the creation of new apprenticeship programs in transportation and logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

This initiative includes pre-apprenticeship programs which are designed to prepare individuals to enter registered apprenticeship programs through industry-based training and classroom instruction. Pre-apprenticeship programs also broaden opportunities for underrepresented populations – including women and low-income individuals – to enter registered apprenticeship programs. California Apprenticeship Initiative grantees have registered more than 900 apprentices and pre-apprenticeship programs have enrolled more than 2,000 participants.

The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 – which invests $52.4 billion over the next 10 years to fix roads, freeways and bridges throughout the state and improve public transportation – includes $5 million per year for five years to expand pre-apprenticeship training programs. These programs provide at-risk youth, women, veterans and the formerly incarcerated with training in the construction trades.

The job training proposal in the transportation package builds on the California Workforce
Development Board’s successful efforts in Proposition 39 pre-apprenticeship training pilots,
called the High Road Construction Careers program. Since 2014, this program has trained more than 1,100 at-risk youth, veterans and other disadvantaged job seekers in construction and green job skills through regional partnerships of building trades councils, workforce boards, community colleges, schools and community organizations. Upon completion of the training, 875 were hired in construction employment or enrolled in higher education, including more than 330 of which joined a state-certified apprenticeship.

The Division of Apprenticeship Standards in the California Department of Industrial Relations creates opportunities for Californians to gain employable lifetime skills and provides employers with a highly skilled and experienced workforce while strengthening California’s economy.

For more information on state registered apprenticeship programs and to search for available apprenticeship programs, visit


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