IR #2001-08
Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
(415) 703-5050

Governor Declares October Apprenticeship Month

SACRAMENTO - In recognition of the 63,000 Californians training as apprentices in more than 800 occupations, Gov. Gray Davis has declared October "Apprenticeship Month."

The California apprenticeship system partners government, labor, industry and education while training new generations of Californians to succeed in industries such as health care, construction, culinary arts and entertainment. By combining on-the-job learning with classroom instruction, the apprenticeship system anticipated currently recognized training methods such as job-shadowing and mentoring.

"It is the goal of this administration to match the needs of workers with those of employers," says Stephen J. Smith, director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. "We want to strengthen the apprenticeship alliance among industry, labor, education and government for recruiting workers and teaching the skills they and their employers need."

California's system of apprenticeship training has been applauded for improving the school performance of participants and reducing drop-out rates among high-risk populations, according to recent studies. Apprenticeships, for example, offer a supportive learning environment for former welfare recipients who successfully learn an occupation that offers good pay and benefits.

Apprenticeship programs also are credited with introducing women to nontraditional work. Almost 7 percent of California's current apprentices are women, a number higher than the national average, though one the state
Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) is committed to increasing. In the meantime, apprenticeships allow women to participate in an earn-as-you-learn system as they gain competency in their chosen occupation.

"I definitely recommend this job to other women, but it takes a certain mentality," says Beverly Wahlig, a former electrical technician for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who is completing an apprenticeship as an operating engineer while working at the $2 billion Port of Oakland expansion. "I like working outdoors. You can't worry about getting dirty and sweaty. You can't worry about the cussing. The money is good. The benefits are great."

Under the Davis administration, the DAS, which oversees the state's apprenticeship system, received its first budget increase in almost a decade. The governor has signed legislation that strengthens DAS authority to raise the standards for apprenticeship training in the state and provides new enforcement tools. He also signed a measure that improves electrician training.

The Division of Apprenticeship Standards is part of the California Department of Industrial Relations.


Editor Note: Interviews with apprentices in your area can be arranged.

Governor honors state’s apprentices by proclamation (Image size=270KB)