A Word From a Apprentice What does apprenticeship mean to you?

Damonni Minor
3rd Period Carpenter Apprentice, Carpenters Local 22

“My name is Damonni and I am a 3rd period carpenter apprentice with Local 22 in San Francisco.

In 2021, I saw a flyer on social media about a women in construction training program for San Francisco residents. I’d been working as a security professional since I graduated high school and felt like time was passing me by. I knew that the training opportunity was something I wouldn’t miss. I was selected, along with 3 other women who made it through the process, for the pre-apprenticeship training in Pleasanton. I believe that our instructor Tim Day made the transition from pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship very smooth. At the end of the 6 weeks, I was so knowledgeable of all the many tools carpenters use.

I entered the union in November of 2021. My first job was with Swinerton at the newly opened battery bluff park in the Presidioo of San Francisco. I was there for about a month before it got slow, and of course, I was the first on the chopping block. That month consisted mainly of sweeping and sanding the wood benches, so I didn’t really sharpen my skills.

However, in December of 2021, I was lucky enough to get placed at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto with Bobby Nieman and I am currently still working there. I can say wholeheartedly that in the 15 months of my working at Stanford, I have done just about everything to become a well-rounded carpenter. I’ve become a sponge just soaking up all the knowledge and constructive criticism that everyone has to offer.

The Swinerton family is so supportive and dedicated to my success. I have to miss work for a week every 2-3 months to attend mandatory school at the Pleasanton training facility but I always look forward to it. I get to take everything I learn in class and apply it in the field. The whole experience from start to finish has been amazing, and I honestly love what I do. Many people see me in the field and assume I’m anything but a carpenter, but more and more women are entering the trades. I think programs like the one I went through should be offered everywhere, not just in San Francisco. I am truly blessed for the mission rock academy and the city build team.”

March 2023