From offices around the state, Division of Apprenticeship Standards  (DAS)consultants work locally with employers-and their collective bargaining partners where applicable-to develop new apprenticeship programs, determining the length of training and specific skills necessary to perform at the level required in the occupation. They help the new program sponsors locate and make arrangements with local education agencies to provide the classroom instruction that augments the on-the-job training.

DAS consultants can also help new sponsors with the standards for their program operation, as well as apprentice registration procedures, a wage progression for apprentices, and completing the elements comprising apprenticeship program standards. They arrange for payment of veterans training benefits to eligible apprentices, and assist in outreach activities to attract apprentice applicants.

Non-minority24,960 (50.5%)25,923

California Apprenticeship Programs by Industry

  • Services 35%
  • Manufacturing 21%
  • Construction 18%
  • Public Administration 16%
  • Retail Trade 6%
  • Transportation &
  • Utilities 2%
  • Other 2%

The 66,152 apprentices in California are maintaining a time-honored system that has proved adaptable to change. As some traditional jobs disappear, new high-tech and service jobs take their place, and California’s apprentices are achieving a higher level of skills than ever before to earn a living in the global marketplace.

Keeping track

The division’s program planning and review unit reviews all new and revised apprenticeship program standards for compliance with California apprenticeship law. The records unit fulfills a vital role as centralized record keeper for active apprentices statewide, in addition to graduates in the last 20 years or more.

DAS also provides statistical reports to the federal Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services, the U.S. Veterans Administration and other interested parties.

Auditing to maintain high standards

Recent legislation strengthens the regulation of apprenticeship programs in California by providing for audits of DAS-approved programs to ensure they meet the high standards necessary for preparing apprentices for the workplaces of the future, and to prevent apprentice exploitation by employers or program sponsors.

The first programs for audit were randomly selected in September 2000. By Sept. 30, 2001, 104 audits were initiated, of which 56 were simplified audits of programs with fewer than five apprentices, and the remainder were full audits. As a result, 31 of these programs were cancelled due to inactivity. By Dec. 31, 2001, 11 final audit reports were completed, 34 proposed reports were being finalized, 28 other audits were in progress and 21 additional programs had been randomly selected for audit.

Public works enforcement

DAS verifies apprentice registration and status, and enforces requirements of Labor Code section 1777.5 mandating employment of apprentices on all public works projects. DAS monitors these projects by investigating the complaints filed with the division. When an investigation reveals a violation of the law, DAS may assess a civil penalty or debarment for up to three years, depending upon the seriousness or recurrence of the violation.

From Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2001, the division received 1,204 complaints alleging violations of apprenticeship law on public works projects. Of the total, 232 complaints were withdrawn or dismissed without merit, and notices of violations were issued on 39. Three debarments were issued.

Apprentice complaints

The division’s investigations unit also handles complaints or appeals filed by apprentices regarding their program sponsors. Following conclusion of investigations and hearings, a formal determination is issued by the administrator of apprenticeship, DIR’s director. From Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2001, the division received 37 complaints from apprentices who charged that actions by their program sponsors were unfair or unreasonable, ranging from selection procedures to dismissal from a program. Of these cases, 12 were dismissed for lack of merit or withdrawn by the complainant. One case is set for hearing and another is on appeal to the California Apprenticeship Council. The remaining cases are still under investigation.

Training fund created by legislation

Assembly Bill 2481 (Romero) revised statutes on collection and distribution of apprenticeship training contributions received from employers on public works projects.

DAS collects training contributions and deposits them into a new Apprenticeship Training Contribution Fund. At the end of each fiscal year, commencing in 2002, the division distributes grant funds to approved apprenticeship programs in the craft and geographic area each serves. During 2001, training fund contributions from contractors on public works jobs totaled $1,142,149.

Contributing to One-Stop Centers

California’s apprenticeship system is one link of the California Workforce Investment Board’s (CWIB) federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) One-Stop Centers located throughout the state. The centers provide a full range of services for job seekers and employers. CWIB staff are working with DAS, the California community colleges and Department of Education to link apprenticeship programs with training and services offered through the one-stop system.

DAS provides the CWIB with apprenticeship promotional materials such as Opportunity is Knocking posters, The Apprentice newsletter and the video Apprenticeship: California’s Best Kept Secret.

Developing electrician certification program

Legislatively required to establish and validate minimum standards for the competency and training of electricians through a system of testing and certification, DAS appointed an advisory committee that submitted recommendations for the program’s implementation.

In June 2001 proposed regulations were mailed to all electrical contractors in the state. DAS held a 45-day public comment period and public hearings for input, impaneled 36 subject matter experts and appointed seven members to a subject matter expert executive committee, all of whom met regularly to produce a test bank of questions.

Pilot testing was held in July 2001 throughout the state. Development and validation of the test is complete. DAS is working on modifications to the proposed regulations, vendor selection for the test administration portion of the certification process, and-with assistance from DIR information services- developing a database to help process the thousands of applications. Testing for certification is planned for several locations around the state during the summer of 2002.

Rosie the Riveter leaves legacy for tradeswomen

Promoting women’s participation in construction trade apprenticeships is the goal of a coalition of labor and government groups, including DAS, as they plan events aimed at local high school girls and community college women. One event was a celebration at the newly-dedicated Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Richmond, California.

Dedicated in October 2000 during a ceremony that attracted 100 Rosies, the Rosie the Riveter memorial honors those six million women who during World War II traded in their pots, pans and brooms for wrenches and welding rods to support the defense industry. The Kaiser shipyards in Richmond served as a magnet for the migration of women from home to workplace.

This memorial, the only one in the nation honoring women’s contributions to the World War II home front, helps illuminate the lives of defense industry workers such as Katie Grant. She moved with her husband and infant daughter from Oklahoma to California in 1943 to pack fruit before ending up at the Richmond shipyards while her husband served in the Pacific with the Marines.

“I worked the graveyard shift 12-8 a.m. in the shipyard,” Grant wrote in a short memoir. “I took classes on how to weld. I had leather gloves, leather pants, big hood, goggles and a leather jacket. They said you weld like you crochet. They put me 40 feet down in the bottom of the ship to be a tacker. I filled the long seams of the cracks in the ship corners full of hot lead and then brushed them good and you could see how pretty it was. The welders would come along and weld so it would take the strong waves and deep water and heavy weight. I liked it pretty good.”

The celebration began a statewide campaign to increase the number of women in construction trades apprenticeships and coincided with Women’s History Month. Along with guided tours of the monument, the event offered apprenticeship information booths and hands-on demonstrations in welding, heavy equipment operation and ironwork. A program featured Rosies, tradeswomen and the premiere of an oral history film about women employed in the defense industries during World War II.

The celebration was sponsored by Tradeswomen Inc., Contra Costa Central Labor Council, City of Richmond, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, the Department of Industrial Relations and DAS, the Employment Development Department and Richmond Works, One Stop Downtown, U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau Region IX, Glaziers Local 718 and the law firm of Kazan, McClain, Edises, Simon and Abrams.

The foundation of California‘s apprenticeship system is partnership among industry, labor, education and government.

Industry funded and industry driven, the apprenticeship system provides an effective balance between learning by doing and theoretical instruction, and develops workers with marketable skills.

California’s industries and employers voluntarily sponsoring or participating in an apprenticeship program find this system of training efficient and cost effective because it eliminates expensive recruitment programs for people who are already trained, creates a diversified and flexible pool of employees with desired skills, and reduces costs of high labor turnover.

Employees show high morale and company loyalty when in an apprenticeship that offers upward mobility through career development, and apprenticeships adapt to include training of new skills in demand by industry.

On the Internet from DAS:

  •  notice of public meetings
  • Apprenticeship Information Guide
  • public works apprenticeship committees directory
  • public works forms
  • electrical certification program information
  •  frequently asked questions
  • School-to-Career/A Guide for Educators
  • orientation to apprenticeship resource guide
  • governor’s proclamation honoring California
  • apprentices apprentice
  • testimonials
  • Title 8 regulations
  • Annual Report on Activities to the Legislature and the Public
  • office locations statewide