Apprenticeship combines on-the-job skills training with classroom instruction. During the day, you learn and practice the hands-on skills of your trade as an employee of a leading construction company. In the evening, you attend class twice a week to learn the theory behind what you are practicing in the field. Your instructors in both the field and the classroom are experienced craftsmen and women who have been certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Your training expenses are paid by the contractors that sponsor your training.
When you become an ABC Apprentice, you take an important step toward a high-paying career in construction (the second largest industry in the U.S.), where jobs are always available to hardworking individuals wishing to apply their skills and intelligence.
- As an ABC Apprentice, you have status. ABC Apprentices are respected for their commitment, their skills and their abilities.
- As an ABC Apprentice, you are paid well. Apprentices receive pay increases every few months as they progress in their training. Because Apprentices don’t pay for their training; they avoid the debt that many traditional college students face.
- As an ABC Apprentice, you gain experience and marketable skills. Apprentices complete their training with several years of real-world experience. Many go on to become job superintendents, project supervisors and even company owners.
- As an Apprentice, your educational expenses are paid for by ABC. You may also be eligible for VA education benefits.
- When you commit to your future by becoming an ABC Apprentice, you are opening the door to countless career opportunities and virtually unlimited earning power.
When you complete your training as an ABC Apprentice, you earn a Certificate of Completion from the State of New Mexico. This Certificate of Completion is recognized throughout the country as evidence that you are a highly-skilled journeyman. It is also recognized as credit toward your Associates Degree from Central New Mexico Community College (CNM).
To become an ABC Apprentice, you must meet minimum requirements and must complete and submit a written application. You must be at least 18 years old, be a bona fide resident of the U.S., be a high school graduate (or have a GED) (prior experience in the trade may be substituted), be physically capable to perform the essential functions of the trade and have reliable transportation. You will be interviewed by an Apprenticeship Committee made up of employers who provide on-the-job training and you must be able to meet the established employment requirements of these employers. As an ABC Apprentice, you may be required to take a drug test.
Applications are accepted year-round for ABC’s Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing and Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Programs. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. ABC contractors are equal opportunity employers. Acceptance into a Program is dependent upon an applicant’s ability to meet Program requirements and the needs of participating contractors. All ABC Apprenticeship classes are taught in English.
Your complete application will consist of (1) the written application form (see enclosed), completed and signed, (2) proof of age (e.g., birth certificate, drivers’ license), (3) copy of high school diploma or GED certificate or written evidence of experience in the trade (e.g., letter from former employers on their letterhead), (4) three letters of reference from individuals other than family members (it is helpful if these letters refer to prior experience you may have in your chosen trade) and (5) evidence of bona fide residence in the United States. Additionally, if you wish to claim credit for prior work experience or vocational training you must provide written evidence of that experience or training. Veterans wishing to claim credit for their military service must provide copies of their discharge papers. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Please note: If you are accepted into an ABC Apprenticeship Program you may be required to pay out-of-state Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) registration costs if you do not establish New Mexico residency after one year (if you are a member of the Navajo Nation residing on the Navajo reservation, you are exempt from this requirement, but you must complete a State of New Mexico Commission on Higher Education Certification).
When you deliver your complete written application to ABC you will receive information about when and where your interview will take place. It is important that you call to confirm your interview 24 hours in advance and that you appear in person for your interview at the appointed time. If you fail to appear, your written application will be returned to you and you will be required to reapply.
You will be interviewed by a Committee consisting of representatives of the Apprenticeship Program for which you are applying. The interview has two parts. During the first part of the interview, the Committee will verify your qualifications (e.g., education, work experience, military service and references) and will assign points based on those qualifications. In the absence of written proof, points cannot be granted. You can earn a maximum of 75 points for this part of the interview.
The second part of the interview consists of a subjective analysis of your interest in the trade, your commitment and attitude toward training, and your understanding of what will be expected of you as an Apprentice. You can earn a maximum of 25 points for this part of the interview.
You must earn at least 60 points in your interview to qualify for training as an ABC Apprentice. If you qualify, your name will be placed on a list with the names of other qualified applicants. Your position (rank) on this list will depend on the number of points you earned in your interview. If you do not earn at least 50 points, you will be informed in writing that you do not qualify (please keep in mind you can reapply at any time if your qualifications change). The appearance of your name on the Ranking List signals your willingness to train as an ABC Apprenticeship and to accept an assignment for on-the-job training.
When your name reaches the top of the Ranking List, you will be called as soon as an ABC employer advises ABC that it is in a position to train an Apprentice. If you do not return ABC’s call within 24 hours, you will be skipped over and the next applicant on the Ranking List will be contacted. If you have not been placed with an ABC member company within six months, you will be asked to re-interview. Many applicants use this time to improve their qualifications and experience. During the time your name is on the Ranking List, you must keep ABC advised of any change to your phone number or address.
Your acceptance into an ABC Apprenticeship Program will depend on your ability to meet the employment requirements of the member company to which you are referred for on-the-job training.
Although you likely will be required to buy and maintain your own tools, training as an Apprentice will cost you nothing. Your training costs will be paid by ABC and its member companies. These costs include tuition (which can be as much as $2,000 per year) and the time experienced journeymen spend training and supervising and you in the field.
When you are accepted as an ABC Apprentice, you will receive a copy of the Standards for the Apprenticeship Program and an Apprentice Handbook. These and other materials you will receive will outline your responsibilities as an Apprentice. You will also be expected to sign a formal Apprenticeship Agreement. This Agreement is evidence of both your and ABC’s commitment to complete your training program (which lasts 4 years). Read it carefully! For example –
- You must meet your commitments to the Program for the term of your Apprenticeship.
- You must comply with your employer’s company policies and meet its employment requirements. Although you will be paid and treated as an employee, you will be assigned to an employer as a participant in a training program. If you fail to meet your training commitments and are dropped from the program, your employment may end as well. You will not get to choose the employer with which you will be placed for training. Drug tests may be required throughout your training.
- You must remain available for on-the-job training assignments (some assignments may be out-of-town) and submit an accurate record of your training hours to ABC on a monthly basis.
- You must attend assigned classes two nights per week (five hours total) during the typical school year and participate in other educational activities. All missed classes must be made up at your instructor’s convenience. You must also successfully complete all work assigned by your instructor in a timely manner. You will not be paid for the time you are in class or doing classwork.
Each year, the Apprenticeship Committee establishes the minimum wages that employers will pay Apprentices for their on-the-job training. These wages are based on a percentage of the journeyman wage rates. Your wages should increase roughly every six months as your training progresses. Although minimum wages are set by the Committee, your actual wages will depend on your performance and the company to which you are assigned. You have the ability to negotiate your wages with your employer. Your wages may change depending on whether you are assigned for on-the-job training on a public construction project or a private project. You may also receive employee benefits.
2009 Minimum Starting Wages for ABC Apprentices (private construction work)
Carpentry Apprenticeship Program $9.96/hour
Electrical Apprenticeship Program $11.30/hour
Plumbing Apprenticeship Program $10.84/hour
Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Program $10.68/hour
ABC employers make every effort to keep you working full-time. However, you are not guaranteed full-time employment as an Apprentice.
No, becoming an ABC Apprentice will not require that you join a union or pay union dues. Instead, you will work for a company that operates on the "team" principal.
The training you receive as an ABC -New Mexico’s Apprentice may be transferrable to ABC training programs in other parts of the country. If you anticipate moving, talk to an ABC staff member for information on how to contact these other programs. New Mexico’s Apprenticeship Programs are fully accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). This means that your training progress is in the National Craft Training Registry and will be recognized around the country by employers and organizations that subscribe to NCCER.
Yes, you can use your Veteran’s benefits as an ABC Apprentice.
Yes. As a skilled craftsman, you will want to own your own tools. Some employers will help you purchase your initial set of tools.
ABC is a major national construction industry trade association with more than 25,000 members nationwide. These members include general and specialty contractors in all trades, suppliers of materials and equipment, and other professionals associated with the construction industry. ABC was formed in 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland, to represent the interests of contractors that embrace the Merit Philosophy. Contractors that operate under the Merit Philosophy recognize and reward achievement based on performance and skills. ABC and its members have a strong commitment to education and have spent millions of dollars to develop the Contren curriculum used in ABC’s Apprenticeship Programs.