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

Laborer Apprentice, Laborers Local 300

“My name is Janay Wilson and I’m am an apprentice from local union 300.

Before I got in the union, I was doing in-home care in Beverly Hills for Tatum O’Neal. It wasn’t the best job, but I couldn’t complain. I went in everyday with a positive attitude ready to work, but after about almost two years I put in my two weeks because I was moving to Las Vegas, Nevada.  

In Vegas, I was working at a water park and at UPS, but the pay wasn’t the same like in California. So, I left both of those jobs and decided to just wait in see if I would come across a better job. One weekend when I was in Los Angeles visiting my parents, my cousin called me and asked if I wanted to work doing construction in Arizona. I was so excited! He asked me, “How fast can you get to Vegas?” I said, “I’m on my way now!”

When I got out there, I loved the job and everything felt right. I was treated like I had been working there for years. I thought that this was the job for me, and I wanted to make a career out of it. But, that all ended when my dad called me and told me my mom was very sick. We was off on weekends so I flew to Los Angeles and seen for myself that she was sick. I knew they needed help. I explained to my boss and he was very understanding, but I decided to leave the job.

I didn’t have a job and I was back home with my parents, so I started stressing out. My mom was seeing that I was stressed and told me to go back to school. I tried to go sign up but when I did it was already too late, they were already far along with the class. That’s when I became very discouraged. I was asking my friends if any of their jobs were hiring. One of my friends told me about this program called HireLax, and if you complete the 8 week class your guaranteed a job. My friend was already in the program and thought I should join to further my career. She sent me all the information that I needed, and I took the program into consideration.

There was an orientation that I went to where you have an orientation then a little interview to see if this job is the perfect fit. I gained so much information at the orientation. I passed the interview and they gave me a call back and a start date.

I started the program at Southwest College in late June of last year. While being there, I had great teachers, great mentors and really great people who actually wanted to see you further your career. They provided everything you needed to actually get in the field. We actually did hands on to get the feel for the trade we were looking into. They taught us how to use different hand tools and different machines we would use on a job site. Those things were very helpful.

HireLax taught us how to interview and how to put your resume in the right format. So even if you didn’t complete the the program, they gave us different knowledge to actually get a job. HireLax provides field trips, food, tools, gas cards and mentors. The program was great. I ended up finishing the program, getting an interview and was sent to the office where I got the date to start my boocamp. Bootcamp was a bit hard for me but I knew this was going to set me straight and I was interested in it. I cried doing bootcamp, because I thought I wasn’t going to make it. That was just a mind thing though, and I was able to push myself and complete the camp. I was later dispatched out to my job site. A couple weeks in, everybody made me feel comfortable. I was shown how to do the things I didn’t know how to do, and I got it. Being the only girl on the job site, I wasn’t treated any differently and everything was fair. Today, I actually love my job.”

March 2023