FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-63
October 18, 2008

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


DIR Director Highlights the Need for Increasing California’s Skilled Workforce

Livermore—October 18, 2008—The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Director John C. Duncan highlighted the need for skilled trades workers on upcoming public works projects at today’s apprenticeship graduation ceremony for the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Golden Gate Chapter in Livermore.

The 11th Annual Apprenticeship Graduation acknowledged 47 graduates from the state- approved apprenticeship program with trades including carpentry, electrical, construction craft laborer, painting, and plumbing.

“As graduates of ABC Golden Gate Chapter, these students have received the necessary training to become skilled tradesmen,” said Duncan. “These graduates, who are our future workforce, have proven their knowledge of the skills required in their craft. They will be an essential component in constructing the housing, schools, levees, bridges, and highways the state will need in the coming decades.”

The celebration included an unveiling of ABC’s new state-of-the-art training center with 8,000 square feet of offices as well as 14,000 square feet of warehouse and classroom space. The center features four classrooms, a computer lab for apprentices, a high tech conference room, and labs for the programs. Tours of the new training center were provided to showcase the unveiling.

Earlier this year to raise awareness of the need for a skilled workforce in California, Governor Schwarzenegger launched the “I Built It” Campaign. The campaign raised awareness of career opportunities through apprenticeship programs made available through the Governor’s $43 billion of infrastructure bonds passed by voters in 2006.

Under California law, one apprentice for every five journeymen is required to be employed on all public works job. California will be facing the challenge of attracting and developing the critical workforce required to rebuild infrastructure and to replace the coming retirement of baby boomers.

“In California, 830,000 jobs will become available over the next seven years due to retirements,” said Duncan. “An estimated 200,000 new apprentices will be needed over the next 10-12 years. Graduates from apprenticeship schools like ABC Golden Gate Chapter will help fill the shortage of skilled workers.”

Currently in the Bay Area money from bond initiatives are being released for school construction projects on the campuses of the Universities of Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco. These projects are moving forward as part of the $890 million in educational bond initiatives. Other bond monies have been released for housing, transportation and levies projects throughout the State requiring skilled labor to perform the work.

For more information about California apprenticeship programs, go to www.ibuiltit.org.

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