Are you interested in the construction trades?
North State Builds, a partnership of the three northernmost building and construction trades councils in California, represents workers in fourteen counties in the northern state. In conjunction with Humboldt Del Norte Building and Construction Trades, the Smart Workforce Center and the NCCC Workforce Board, they are offering a five-week pre-apprenticeship training from June 13 to July 14 in Eureka, California. The course will help participants better understand their options in a variety of trades like masonry, heavy equipment operations, plumbing, electrical and more. It will also help them prepare for the pre-apprenticeship interview and provide them with a math refresher. There is no charge to attend and a small daily salary incentive will be provided. Participants will get their OSHA 10 card, first aid certificate, CPR card and pre-learning certificate. Women and minorities are encouraged to attend. For more information or to register for the course, visit www.northstatebuilds.comcall the SMART Center in Del Norte County at 707-464-8347 or email [email protected]. More of these courses are offered in Northern California counties in 2022.
Construction Trades Success Story
Cody Freitas was 22 years old before he decided to get into the construction trades. Today, he is 30 years old and entering his ninth year as a Journeyman Operations Engineer in Upstate.
A graduate of McKinleyville High School, Cody earned good grades and took every Advanced Placement course offered, but he knew early on that college was not the right path for him. After graduating, he went straight to work, taking on various jobs such as clerical work, working at the local dump, at a grocery store, and even as a finish carpenter at a local cabinet shop.
Cody was working as a commercial fisherman on and off when he applied for the apprenticeship program with Local 3 Operations Engineers (OE3). He missed his first opportunity to interview for the program, as he was in the middle of the ocean on a fishing expedition and received the voicemail 20 days later when he returned to shore. At the start of the next program year, when they called back, he was ready and available. He traveled to Rancho Murieta, California to take the SAGE test where he scored high enough to land an oral interview. Cody acknowledges being on time and ready to take the oral interview and participate in the program – two candidates scheduled before him were ousted for showing up late and not having their papers, which earned Cody a place in the five-week POP training course. Shortly after graduating, he got a call for his first job.
Like most careers, he started at the bottom and worked his way up. The work was hard and the hours long, but he kept a positive attitude and always showed up to the job site on time and ready to work. This work ethic has kept him high on the list for opportunities on upcoming jobs. He has held various jobs at several companies across California and has made it his mission to always establish a good relationship with his employer which has paid off for the past nine years.
Cody says he’s grateful to have gotten into the trades through the union. It helped him understand the prevailing salaries, how these positions work, and how to select the best jobs for success. “I’m proud that after only one year as an apprentice I bought my truck and after only four years I bought my first home with a full 20% down payment. If you work hard consistently, you’ll get work,” Cody said. He credits his success to working with large corporations who understood that as an apprentice he didn’t know everything, but was eager and ready to learn.
Working in the union has given Cody unique opportunities to help local communities in crisis, such as restoring the port of Crescent City after the 2011 tsunami wiped out the port, and restoring the Oroville Dam after it failed. in 2017. He is inspired by the work he does and is happy to have found his calling, explaining, “While trades work often happens behind the scenes, the critical infrastructure we build is everywhere – roads on which you drive, to the buildings in which you conduct business and live in, to the bridges that connect our state. The construction workers built everything.
When asked if he had any advice for people considering a career in the trades, he said, “Apprentices are a hot commodity in the trades. If you show yourself willing and ready to learn and work hard, you will go far. Companies appreciate good workers, there is always a place for a good worker.