Edmonds College receives state recognition for its new construction pre-apprenticeship program

The Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council, and Labor and Industries has issued a formal recognition to the Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program at Edmonds College. Local 292 – Laborers, NW Carpenters Institute (NWCI) of Washington, Operating Engineers Training Program, Local 528 – Mason and Plasterers, Local 699 – Sprinkler Fitters served on the curriculum development oversight committee. NWCI and Local 86 Iron Workers also submitted letters of support for the program, which aided in the recognition.

This recognition, which is good for three years, will allow the college to work closer with labor unions to articulate the curriculum for direct or preferred entry into paid apprenticeships. Reapplication is required after three years to maintain recognition.

For students, this means that upon successful completion of the program, they have a greater opportunity to be accepted and registered as an apprentice in the unions who supported the program’s recognition. Apprenticeship programs are very competitive, and successful completion of the pre-apprenticeship program provides an advantage over those without this early baseline education.

The Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program (CAP) is a partnership between Edmonds College, the City of Lynnwood, Sound Transit, and several other partners to fill a critical labor shortage and provide skills training to community members. The first cohort graduated four students in fall 2021. The second cohort began in January 2022 with 10 students. The tuition-free program is available to local residents. The value of the 10-week class is $5,000 per student.

According to an Edmonds College announcement, this pre-apprenticeship program will help create opportunities for South Snohomish County community members —  especially those who are underrepresented in the construction industry such as women and people of color — to begin careers in skilled construction trades and earn family wages and paid benefits.

CAP is a 300-hour program that includes classroom lectures and hands-on experience. The technical skills portion of the program consists of math, blueprint reading and drawing, health and safety, tool training, construction basic, basic electrical, and basic plumbing. The course also covers work readiness, industry awareness, financial literacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The college will work with the RISE Up (Respect, Inclusion, Safety, and Equity in the Construction Trades) to offer modules covering implicit bias, emotional intelligence, coded language, diversity and intersectionality, and micro and macro aggressions. DEI learning outcomes are implemented throughout CAP, preparing students for an inclusive workforce. Finally, students create a capstone project demonstrating the link between theory, practice and skills acquired throughout the program.

Thanks to the generous contribution of $150,000 from Sound Transit, Edmonds College successfully launched the program in fall 2021. The program offers many community benefits including the increased supply of skilled labor to support completion of light rail and other important construction projects; unemployed and under-employed residents can grow into high-paying, in-demand jobs; and our community benefits from an overall increase in wealth, training, and employment. “This program is a fantastic accomplishment for our community and we are thrilled to have received the recognition from the State, which will only help our students achieve their successes,” said Edmonds College President Dr. Amit Singh.

Additional support comes from Seattle Credit Union, which is awarding graduating students with a new hard hat, tool belt and steel-toed shoes and has announced the CAP program as the recipient of their 2021-2022 Feel Good Checking donations. Black and Decker has awarded the CAP program a $25,000 grant to increase the marketing and outreach efforts into underserved communities and populations.

“I would like to thank the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council, Labor & Industries, SBCTC and the dedicated team at the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Center of Edmonds College for helping us achieve this significant accomplishment,” Singh said.

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