Approximately 700 juniors and seniors from 24 high schools in San Joaquin County gathered at 10 a.m. on Friday for the 13th annual Construction Trades Career Fair to learn about careers in trades such as iron work, roofing, sheet metal work, plumbing and pipe fitting.
Held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 and National Electrical Contractors Association Electrical Training Center, the career fair featured booths from various trade unions, as well as presentations on the different trades, career paths and apprenticeships.
Greg Vincelet, chairman of the San Joaquin Area Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, explained that apprentice plumbers and pipe fitters can earn $18.35 per hour while learning their trade, and are eligible for a pay raise every six months.
Apprenticeships for those careers last for five years, he said, after which the apprentice becomes a journeyman, earning $40 per hour. Apprentices also receive medical and dental insurance, as well as pensions and vacation funds. Some apprenticeship programs also include college credits, as apprentices usually work alongside a journeyman during the day and attend classes at night.