TERM: 3rd Term Apprentice
Tell us about your journey into the Oregon Laborers, what made you choose to become a construction craft laborer apprentice?
I was at my social work job looking at my friends who were in the trades posting pictures of them being on vacation and buying new cars. Whereas I couldn’t even pay rent at the time. I signed up to go to Oregon Tradeswomen. I got in! I did Oregon Tradeswoman’s 7-week Pre-Apprenticeship Program and was dead set on being a carpenter. I even went there for a hands-on day. Then I found out I had brain cancer. Unfortunately, that put a pause on my career. Came back 6 months later and re-took the class, still set on being a carpenter. When I went on a field trip to Local 737 I automatically felt at home. The energy was great. Being in my 40s learning it was a 2-year program was even better. Then I got to drive around on the equipment which I was nervous about but the staff was so helpful and made me feel comfortable. Again, I felt like I was home. I graduated from OTW the next week and applied to the Oregon Laborers before I even graduated from my pre-apprenticeship program. I went straight to work a week after I took orientation. I love that I am constantly doing something new all the time. And the pay and benefits are really good.
How has being in the apprenticeship program impacted your life?
I make more money than I have ever made. I have a sense of family. And I will keep making more and more money! I just went to Las Vegas and was with 3300 other women in the trades and that was inspiring.
What advice would you give others who are interested in joining our program or are just starting out?
Do it!! I would say that we have one of the best benefits packages out of the other trades if you are thinking long-term. The program is 2 years instead of 5. You are constantly learning new stuff. Not constantly doing the same thing. You will have a sense of family, plus we have lots of jobs. You will work all year long and you don’t have to commission your own work.