FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #07-49
October 9, 2007

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050


Department of Industrial Relations declares October Apprenticeship Month

San Francisco - The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS), is honoring apprentices throughout the month of October in conjunction with the 68th anniversary of the Shelley-Maloney Act that established the basic features of California's apprenticeship program in 1939.

"California is today offering young workers golden opportunities through apprenticeship programs as a way to establish themselves in life-long, satisfying careers,” said DIR Director John Duncan. “We have more than $43 billion worth of public works infrastructure projects to complete over the next 10 years and not enough workers to fill all those jobs that will be created due to the retirement of huge numbers of baby boomers.”

The public infrastructure work requires apprentices in a ratio of one-apprentice-to-every-five-journeyman to be employed on all jobs. In addition to the building trades, Duncan added that apprenticeship opportunities currently exist in healthcare, firefighting and biotechnology.

While DAS is actively recruiting apprentices, it is available also to help employers who want to establish an on-the-job training or apprentice program. DAS provides consultative services to apprenticeship program sponsors, employers, employee organizations and education providers, and nearly any industry or occupation can develop an apprenticeship program. Using the apprenticeship system for training allows employers to train young workers to meet their specifications, while creating a loyal workforce and saving on recruitment costs.

Established within DIR in 1945, DAS enforces California labor law in apprenticeship programs to protect their integrity. DAS also fosters, promotes and develops employment-based apprenticeship training programs correlated with related and supplemental instruction classes that are provided by local education agencies. The term “apprenticeship” should not be used to describe an internship, volunteer work or simply an assistant.

Visit the DAS web site at www.dir.ca.gov for more information on both the apprentice and the employer sponsor programs. Be sure to check the special portal called "Opportunity is Knocking." It has a quick reference for potential apprentices and interested employers who want to know how to get started in a program, and personal stories from apprentices who have made great changes in their lives through the apprenticeship program. The portal address is http://www.dir.ca.gov/Apprenticeship/index.htm or it can be reached from the DIR home page "Opportunity is Knocking" link.

# # #

Note to media: Apprentices/graduates available for interviews.