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As you and your child begin to think about their post-high school life, many, if not most of you, will think college!  But there are a great many other post-secondary education options available that can lead to a career path every bit as fulfilling, and often more lucrative than can be realized with a four-year college degree.

One of those options is tried and true and has been used by the building trades in Western Pennsylvania for decades to train highly skilled and professional tradespeople – one of the most in-demand careers in our region and nationally.

The apprenticeship training programs offered through the region’s 16 building trades are at no cost to the apprentice, and further, apprentices are paid during their three to five year-training period. In addition, apprentices receive comprehensive quality health care coverage, as well as pension and annuity benefits.

Sound too good to be true?

It isn’t, but don’t take our word for it. Here is what a few of our apprentices have to say:

“My parents’ wanted me to go to college, but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to establish a career and start my adult life and the Mason's apprentice program gave me that opportunity.” – Anthony Brown, Apprentice, Cement Masons Local #526.

“When I filled out my application there was a question that asked why you wanted to be a roofer? I answered, the pursuit of knowledge. My apprenticeship has been a tremendous experience. I’ve learned so much and the willingness of the journeymen to teach has been unbelievable.” – Thomas Lokomski, Apprentice, Roofers Local #37.

“I am honored to tell others I am a union tradesperson. In a world that is flooded with technology, I enjoy being a member of an industry that relies on the importance of hand craftsmanship and personal skill." – Hannah Grey, Apprentice, KML Regional Council of Carpenters.

The region’s building trades project to take more than 1,500 apprentices into our programs this year. There are 16 training centers in the region offering scores of training programs. But not everyone gets in. We are looking for driven, committed people who want to build a lifelong career that can lead them to a variety of long-term career options.

What Does It Take To Be An Apprentice?

If you have good grades, especially in math, have a good attendance record, commitment to work hard and to learn, and a desire to be years ahead of others in terms of income, benefits, and career satisfaction, then the building trades may be perfect for you. And by the way, these programs are ideal for young women as well as men!

Minimum Requirements:

  • You must be 18 years of age to enter the program, but high school seniors can apply at age 17.
  • You need to have a valid Pennsylvania drivers’ license.
  • You must have reliable personal transportation.
  • You must be a high school graduate, or have a GED.
  • You must pass a drug test for entry into the program, and throughout your career.

If accepted into one of the programs, you will be trained in state-of-the-art facilities and first hand on the job. You will develop and refine skills that will make you into a professional, skilled tradesperson and part of a team that builds our region's office buildings; entertainment venues; manufacturing and industrial plants; and roads, highways, bridges and more.

Application periods and class start dates vary by trade. Please visit the “Apprenticeships” page for information and contacts to all the Joint Apprenticeship Training Centers.