Division of Apprenticeship Standards - Meet California's apprentices

Apprenticeship: Opportunity is knocking

Photo of Gregory Wilkerson, certified nursing asstant

Gregory Wilkerson
Certified nursing assistant

"I've been wanting to get into the medical field for 10 years. When I was on construction I sometimes worked 16 hours per day. The money was great but now I have to spend time with my young son. I had to reassess my whole life because I am the sole supporter for him. As a certified nursing assistant I can do something beneficial for myself and for the community. My intention is to get into the door and then I want to go back to school and get into radiology or ultrasound."

Photo of Lorriann Raji, former culinary apprentice pastry chef

Lorriann Raji,
Former culinary apprentice pastry chef
San Francisco

"When you're an apprentice you learn the old-fashioned way. And it's really the right way. Electricians and carpenters do it. They just don't come out of school as a professional. You're learning with adults and people who have been in a craft for years. You learn to respect their knowledge. And you learn to respect yourself when you have that knowledge."

Photo of Linda Gomez, pastry apprentice

Linda Gomez
Pastry apprentice
San Francisco

"Sometimes I bring in my own ideas. I was looking through the food section of the newspaper and there was a recipe for apple crisp. The pastry chef agreed I could try it. We adapted it to our own style. We didn't care for the crisp topping in the original recipe so we combined it with another recipe and used that combination as the toppping. This took one or two tries. Within three days it was on the menu."

Photo of Gloria Mathews, certified nursing assistant

Gloria Mathews
Certified nursing assistant

"I've been telling people if this is the field they want to go into, go for it because it's really beneficial and it really helps you out. We had 100 clinical hours and 50 hours of theory. The program takes about two months. It can be easy if you take short cuts, but why would you want to take short cuts when you want the residents to be clean? I want to be clean and I assume they feel the same way."

Photo of Sandy Lowe, culinary apprentice

Sandy Lowe
Culinary apprentice
San Francisco

"A person really has to be serious about the culinary apprenticeship because three years is a long time. It goes quick, but it's not a small chunk of your life. They should take classes before getting into the program. You need to be dedicated. There is a panel interview before you're accepted for the apprenticeship to see what kind of drive you have and how serious you are about it."

Photo of Vieng Sasone, carpenter apprentice

Vieng Sasone
Carpenter apprentice

"Carpentry is the kind of work I like to do. I like everything about it. I'm still taking classes. I got on the union list and they called me. I showed up there every morning and they asked me if I wanted to work."

Pgoto of Derrick Juarez, mechanic apprentice

Derrick Juarez
Mechanic apprentice

"I started work here and they put me in the program. You learn more this way. They teach you everything. You work with a journeyman. You learn the right way to do it."

Photo of Sam Apodaca, ironworker apprentice

Sam Apodaca
Ironworker's apprentice

"Going to school for your trade is like adding another tool to your tool belt. The guys respect you more. There's a lot of things you need to know in the field. But combine that with your books and you turn into a professional."

Ptoto of Candy Lane, carpenter apprentice

Candy Lane
Carpenter's apprentice

"It helps to have a pre-apprenticeship. As a beginner they really want you to get out there and hustle your own work, get out there and knock on doors three times per week. I worked the whole year, all but two months. I personally haven't found it a problem finding work. I've worked two months at the school now."

Photo of Clint Hunt, plumber apprentice

Clint Hunt
Plumber's apprentice

"You don't have to know anything but they give you a math test when you come in. The higher you score on the test, the higher you are placed on the waiting list. It takes five years to graduate from a plumber apprentice. There's 10 periods of apprenticeship. There's a good living to be made here and you'll be very well taken care of."

Credits: photos by Robert Gumpert