Training a Carpenter Workforce for the 21st Century

Training is the keystone of our rapidly changing industry, and Northern California carpenters are trained to work safely, productively and, through continuous training, to keep pace with new technology and new ways of working.
In Northern California, training is the responsibility of the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California (CTCNC), operated jointly by the Carpenters Union and signatory employers. CTCNC provides up-to-date training for everything from high school classes and pre-apprenticeship programs to advanced leadership and technical education.
Here’s how we do it:
A career in the construction industry—with rewarding work, good pay, good working conditions, health insurance and retirement—isn’t a hard sell. The Carpenters Training Committee partners with dozens of Northern California high schools, community colleges, government agencies and community-based organizations to recruit the next generation. 
We regularly sponsor career fairs and other forms of outreach. We reach out to women and residents of underserved communities. Our programs in state prisons have made it possible for many of formerly incarcerated men and women to build a new life. 
Recruits must complete a six-week pre-apprenticeship—an intense six-week boot-camp based on our rigorous curriculum. They will learn basic construction math, the safe use of hand and power tools, and the fundamentals of framing and other basic tasks. They must past a skills test—measuring, cutting, drilling and nailing. They must demonstrate the commitment and the other intangible qualities they need to succeed in our industry. 
CTCNC maintains five fully equipped training centers throughout Northern California. Our apprenticeship coordinators and instructors are veteran construction workers, trained as educators, with a gift for transmitting their knowledge.
We offer 36-hour programs in carpentry, drywall/lathing, pile driving, millwrighting, mill and cabinet making, scaffolding, acoustical installation, modular installation, hardwood floor laying, and insulation. Each of these programs combines classroom learning and hands-on training.  We keep up as the industry changes, for example, adding PlanGrid and Bluebeam training to our blueprint classes.
For example, apprentices in our bridge building class build a 30’ x 30’ section of a lost-deck overpass and learn to read Caltrans blueprints. Pile driver and millwright apprentices, among others, will take a course in rigging that includes practicing signaling with an actual crane. 
Apprentices attend classes four times a year, steadily increasing their skill level until they complete eight “periods.”
We support our apprentices as they learn their way around our complex industry. Each apprentice has at least four one-on-one meetings with a staff member every year, at one of our apprenticeship centers and on the job, to sort out any issues, and to make sure they are progressing. We meet regularly with their foremen and superintendents to assess their work. We are committed to training and retaining the best and most productive possible workforce.
Journey-level Training
Only by continued training can our members keep up with a changing industry and advance their careers. The journey-level program offers classes to help members acquire new skills and learn new technologies, for example the setup and use of total station instruments. We work with employers to develop classes they may need for a specific job, and we often will visit a jobsite to do on-the-job training. We also offer advanced health and safety classes including OSHA 10 & 30, forklift and aerial lift with UBC certifications, and First Aid/CPR.
Journey-level training is usually available nights and on weekends, so working members can attend. The classes, books and materials are free to any member, journeyperson or apprentice.