Building Futures Brick by Brick through Masonry Programs and Apprenticeships

Bonnie O’Connor
Executive Director, Masonry Industry Training Association

The Masonry Industry Training Association (MITA) was founded in 1996 by a group of contractors and suppliers and held it's first class at Riverside Community College in 1997. In 1999 MITA received approval of their Apprenticeship program through the Division of Apprenticeship Standards and were on their way to training future masons for the masonry industry.  

Masons lay Concrete Block in classroom

Since that time many classes were implemented in high schools to raise awareness of the trade and apprentice opportunities. Today, MITA has three apprentice classes that also serve the community in partnership with Chaffy Adult School and are hosted at Ontario High School, Escondido Adult School, and Val Verde Adult School. Enrollment in 2023 is 58 students with 33 active apprentices from ages 18- 30 years old. Apprentices primarily report to prevailing wage jobs and are paid DAS-approved rates. MITA has a few contractors who work with them on private wage jobs and the range of pay is from around $16 per hour for a brand new, no experience at all, Period 1 apprentice, to up to $35 per hour as they move through the DAS periods.  

Masons brick laying
MITA has also developed a partnership with California Family Life Center (CFLC)  to implement a 60-hour “Introduction to Masonry” course. These students have many barriers to achieving academic and professional success. Over 30 young people have been part of the four programs MITA has initiated since 2022. MITA also developed a Summer High School Boot Camp, a four-week, 90-hour “Introduction to Masonry” program. The students get hands-on training, academic lessons, field trips to tours of a block plant and a masonry saw developer, as well as panels with masonry contractors sharing the benefits of this career. Outreach and education are an essential part of the program and MITA is committed to increasing awareness of apprenticeship opportunities to youth.

MITA is excited to look to the future and develop more programs and activities for the benefit of the masonry trade, and the community. During National Apprenticeship MITA is supporting the Inland Empire Apprenticeship Expo in Moreno Valley by having a booth with a demonstration and a masonry contractor will be serving as a panelist for a woman in construction roundtable. MITA will also be hosting their three training sites with a pizza dinner to share their appreciation for their apprentices.

Students standing in class

Bonnie O’Conner is the Executive Director of MITA and is responsible for developing training and informational programs, outreach to high school students to raise awareness of the trade, and developing partnerships with masonry contractors, schools, government agencies, and others for the benefit of the masonry industry in building their workforce of tomorrow.

 For more information on MITA, visit

October 2023