News & Updates

News & Updates

ValleyBuild Programs Graduate Dozens of Students in 2023

Eight students were celebrated at the ValleyBuild graduation in Modesto

Like many other ValleyBuild students, Rick Jones just needed an opportunity to create a better life.

“Nobody wanted to give me a chance because of my past,” he told classmates and the audience at the MC3 Apprenticeship Readiness Program graduation in Modesto. “Now I have a chance at a career and a job, and I have a chance to make something of myself. I really appreciate that.”

Today, Jones is one of 43 graduates who successfully completed ValleyBuild MC3 training in the first quarter of 2023. Eight students graduated in Modesto, 18 in Fresno and 17 in Bakersfield – and all graduations were held in March.

The training programs help prepare the future workforce by teaching skills of the trades along with construction math and forklift driving, for example. Students also get a taste of building trades ranging from plumbing to cement masons to electrical.

In Modesto, the graduation ceremony featured many speakers who congratulated students on completing the program.

“You have to be proud of what you’ve done today and what you’ve done in the last six weeks,” said Training Coordinator Greg Vincelet. “The goal of this class is to show students how to get into these apprenticeship programs. It’s not a shortcut, you’re not guaranteed a spot – you’re going to earn it. That’s what apprenticeship is about – everything you’re going to get, you’re going to earn.”

Jeremiah Williams, a member of the Modesto City Council and a skilled tradesman for decades, offered praise for the students and their achievement.

“The wonderful thing about a trade is that it’s something no one can take away from you, they can’t take that knowledge away from you,” he told the graduates. “This is just the beginning. You’re going to do greater things. You’ll be able to own your own home (and) be able to raise your family … Congratulations from the City of Modesto.”

As the featured class speaker, Jones talked about his difficulty in finding a job despite filing application after application. “Every one would do a background check, and I could not have a chance at a good job, at a career,” he said. “I want to thank this program for giving me a chance.”

Throughout the ValleyBuild region, other students worked toward that same chance by completing MC3 Apprenticeship Readiness Training programs.

Fresno County ValleyBuild Graduates

In Fresno, 18 students graduated from the most recent training cohort. Eight have already been placed in apprenticeships – four with sprinkler fitters and four with bricklayers – and another four tested with the laborers. Some graduates are going through the transitional job process.

During the class, students completed a community project with Animal Rescue of Fresno (ARF).

Kern County ValleyBuild Graduates

In Kern County, 17 students completed training and were honored in graduation ceremonies. Fourteen students applied for the unindentured apprentice program, which provides a chance to learn about the electrical trade through work on large solar projects in Mojave. Two students were hired on graduation day.

More ValleyBuild training classes are forming or starting soon throughout the 14-county region. Additional information is available at