Calif. apprenticeship program gets off the ground

Friday, March 4, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Several years of work has finally paid off to create an apprenticeship program in the state, with California now accepting applications from security companies that want to participate in the program.

So far more than 49 companies have signed on to the program, the result of a state mandate requiring certification and an apprenticeship program for people working with 100-volt amperes or more. Between 800 to 1,000 people are expected to go through the program within the first year.

George Gunning, president of the WBFAA Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee, was part of the security industry initiative to create the program, an effort that involved tthe California Automatic Fire Alarm Association.

“It got forced on us,” said Gunning. “We decided to look at our future and try to protect ourselves.”

The result is a 6,000 hour program, or the equivalent of three years of work, for apprentices. Apprentices also need to complete 560 hours of classroom time.

The benefit to the security industry, said Gunning, is a healthier labor pool. “It opens up an avenue for us to go to high schools, to trade schools and for people to get an occupation,” he said. “We’ve never been able to build a labor pool.”