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
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 states
apprentices by proclamation (Image size=270KB)