News & Updates

News & Updates

San Joaquin County Apprenticeship Readiness Class Boasts 100% Graduation Rate

Members of the San Joaquin County MC3 Apprenticeship Readiness Program graduating class celebrated their achievement with friends, family, dignitaries and training partners.

Twenty-one men and women are on the path to living-wage careers in the building and construction trades after completing apprenticeship readiness training in Stockton.

The San Joaquin Building Trades Council, in partnership with ValleyBuild and other partners, celebrated graduates in ceremonies on Aug. 25. The class of 21 students featured a 100% graduation rate.

More than half the class already had jobs lined up — including scheduled class speaker Jeff Holcomb, who couldn’t attend graduation because he was at work. Graduate Robert Ontiveros filled in and was one of two class speakers who shared their experiences.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln congratulated the graduates for their hard work in completing the training.

 “I’m doing this for my family and mainly my kids,” said Ontiveros, who planned to start work with the laborers. The training “has been one of the greatest programs and things that I’ve completed in my life so far. I feel like today is the first day of the rest of my life in the aspect of my careers and goals.”

“I would recommend this to anybody,” said graduate David Lane, who is headed to the iron workers. “If you are in a hopeless situation, I recommend you get into this program and it’ll change your life – like I hope it will do mine.”

A variety of local officials, trades representatives, partners and other dignitaries stepped up to honor the graduates for successfully completing the MC3 (Multi-Craft Core Curriculum) Apprenticeship Readiness Program training. The six-week class is an introduction to various aspects of construction including math, safety and individual trades like electrical and sheet metal.

 “The ultimate goal is to get folks placed in union apprenticeships and jobs, and almost everyone right now — before the program is even over — is already placed in a job or in a union apprenticeship program,” said Tim Robertson, executive director of the San Joaquin Building Trades Council. “So this program is working.”

Trades Council Executive Director Tim Robertson (left) said most graduates already had jobs lined up,
including class speaker Robert Ontiveros (right), who announced that he is joining the laborers union.

“This is the very start of a journey,” said Michael Mark, financial secretary-treasurer of the trades council, told the graduates. “It took a lot of effort during this six-week course for them to actually get through this like they committed. They were there. They were there every day and put in their effort to make sure to better their lives.”

U.S. Congressman Josh Harder (left) applauded the 100% graduation rate of the class while Trades Council executive Michael Mark (right) talked about the new, good-paying career opportunities available to program graduates.

Union jobs carry the promise of strong wages, regular raises and key benefits like health insurance and pensions, speakers pointed out. With many construction projects and funding in the pipeline, there is work for skilled tradespeople.

“Stockton and San Joaquin County has a lot to offer when it comes to the trades and opportunities,” said Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln.

The apprenticeship readiness training program is part of the ValleyBuild family that operates in a 14-county region within the Central Valley. ValleyBuild brings together workforce development boards, building trades councils and other partners to train men and women for construction-related jobs.

The Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board is the fiscal agent for the program, which is primarily funded by state grants. Ashley Matthews, senior project coordinator in Fresno, praised the students for their hard work during her remarks at graduation.

“I’ve been doing this program for almost four years now,” she said. “ValleyBuild has been, over a decade, providing this kind of training and the results that we see are life-changing.”