A Word From a Journeyperson What does apprenticeship mean to you?
“In 2001, I enrolled in welding and skilled trades classes at Laney college. During my semester, a woman by the name of Beth Youhn from Tradeswomen, Inc. came in and spoke about career opportunities in the trades and apprenticeship programs. Her presentation gave me insight and an understanding into a world I had no idea existed—apprenticeship!
A year later, I was accepted into the glazier, architectural metal and glass worker apprenticeship program for Local 718 in San Francisco. From day one in the field l knew I had found my purpose and my passion. My journey through my apprenticeship program allowed me to learn high demand technical skills and develop a mechanical aptitude that continues to provide me with endless opportunity and growth. My apprenticeship led me to become a leader in the field, where I worked for over 13 years with some of the most caring and respected craftsmen in the industry. Every project brought me the challenge and excitement to learn something new, meet new people from different trades and build a community of brothers and sisters that literally build the skylines of our cities. There are few things as rewarding and satisfying than being a part of something greater than yourself.
Early in my apprenticeship I became active in my union and in my community. I understood early-on that the men and women that came before me sacrificed and fought for the opportunity I now had. Becoming a Journeyperson for me also came with a responsibility to ensure a pipeline for generations to come. Sharing opportunities in apprenticeship with students, veterans, underrepresented people, and communities has become part of my new journey. Becoming a Journeyperson has afforded me the opportunity to reach back, teach and bring our future forward.
Over the last 9 years I have continued my journey as a union leader, a community activist, and an advocate for careers in non-traditional employment. I would advise current apprentices to learn from as many people as possible, get their hands on as many tools and products as possible, and most importantly, find a mentor and be the hardest working, most committed mentee you can be. For those considering an apprenticeship, what do you have to lose? What if it turns out better than you could have imagined. The best way to predict the future is to take part in it.
Stay safe, work hard, and bring our future forward.”