In light of the coronavirus pandemic, and CDC guidance on social distancing, DOSH is making some temporary policy changes in the handling asbestos supervisor and worker refresher training.
Asbestos workers and supervisors with expiration dates between March 13th 2020 and June 13th 2020 will have a three (3) month extension on their certification. If you take your refresher class within that time frame, there is no need to take the state test.
Example 1: A supervisor’s certification states an expiration date of March 18th, 2020. They will be able to work until June 18th, 2020. If they take a refresher course before June 18th, 2020 they will not need to take the state test.
Example 2: A worker’s certification states an expiration date of June 5th, 2020. They will be able to work until September 5th, 2020. If they take a refresher course before September 5th, 2020 they will not need to take the state test.
When an official DOSH Directive regarding asbestos worker and supervisor certifications is issued, the guidance in that directive will replace the guidance in this email.
If you have any questions, please contact DOSHAsbestosInfo@lni.wa.gov.
Due to the present state of the coronavirus, as a precautionary measure, NWLETT is immediately cancelling all classes at all training sites (Kingston, Pasco, Satsop, Spokane, Utah, and Des Moines) for the next four weeks.
In-local classes are still scheduled to take place as planned; however, if this changes, cancellations will be posted to the schedules on the website.
Please check the website for updates.
Please stay safe and wash those hands!
It’s a trend that has found its time: Getting more women working in construction is a tremendous area of opportunity for general contractors and larger construction firms. With women comprising just 9 percent of the construction workforce in the U.S., the benefits of recruiting and investing in female workers are apparent to employers. And with an ample supply of jobs available – often, more jobs than can be filled – it’s a great time for women to explore jobs in the construction industry.
Right now there’s a serious shortage of workers in the skilled trades. Women are well-represented in clerical, administrative and professional roles in the economy, but they’re hugely under-represented in manual labor roles. So construction employers realize that attracting more women into the skilled trades, instead of shoehorning them into professional roles, can quickly and efficiently address this shortage. Developers and general contractors see the value of diversification, and they’re doing more to connect women in the trades to construction jobs. Bottom line: If you’re a woman who wants to do the work, the construction industry needs you.
Case studies show that a construction team’s performance is enhanced when women are involved. Women bring new or different perspectives to approaching challenges in the workplace. The Harvard Business Review reports that the overall intelligence of teams is greater when females are part of the team. It’s clear that women on construction sites bring a lot to the table – not just by filling spots in a labor shortage, but in improving problem-solving and efficiency.
But there’s no way to avoid this: The reality is that there are barriers to entry for women in construction. The culture can be discouraging for women apprenticing in the skilled trades, and outdated attitudes can also come into play on a construction site. Women on construction teams can face discrimination and criticism as they integrate into the male-centric culture found in too many construction firms. For a woman looking to enter construction, the best advice is to be patient and persistent, don’t lose sight of your end goal, and work to be a leader. Take it seriously, because it’s a great career. Be the best student and worker you can be from Day One, and you’ll become part of the process of breaking down gender bias.
The Laborers Apprenticeship Program is on the front edge of changing the role of women in construction. We’re part of a grass-roots initiative to get more women involved in skilled trades such as laborers. One way we’re working to get more women in construction is by creating incentives for them to complete apprenticeships in construction trades.
One important thing to note is that the construction industry does an excellent job of minimizing the pay gap between men and women in similar roles. Both women and men can enjoy excellent economic benefits when they invest time in learning a construction trade.
We know that women have a lot to offer to the construction industry – that’s why we’re working hard to recruit and train them. And as more women work in the field, contractors and construction firms will enjoy the material and cultural benefits of a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
If you or a woman you know would like to be a part of this change while learning valuable, job-ready skills, call the Laborers Apprenticeship Program today.
If you really want to get the scoop on something, you go straight to an inside source if you can… so that’s what we’re doing for you today. The Laborers Apprenticeship program might already seem like a good fit for you, but it’s a big choice, so you should do some homework before you commit. Part of that includes hearing from someone who’s already in the program.
To help out, we sat down with Tony Hanna of Everett, who has been in the program for several years, and asked him to provide an inside perspective of what it’s like for him.
How long have you been in the Laborers Apprenticeship program?
I started fours years ago as a member of Local 292 in Everett. When I first began working in construction, I was working for a non-union contractor. I didn’t like it. There wasn’t a whole lot of respect, and they weren’t concerned about training you so you could do the job properly. They would tell you to do something and then expect you to do it even though you weren’t properly trained. That was frustrating.
In September 2014, I talked to a buddy who was a union operating engineer. He suggested checking into the Laborers Apprenticeship program, and he set it up for me to attend an orientation at Local 292. After passing the pre-construction training, I started out as an apprentice working for Gary Merlino Construction up until May 2017, when I put my construction career on temporary hold to become a member of the Army Reserve. I left Merlino to attend Army training from May through December of 2017. In January of this year, my former foreman asked me to come work for Marshbank Construction as a pipe layer, and I’ve been with them since then.
What’s your typical day at work like?
It’s pretty busy. On a pipe crew, sometimes I’ll be the top man or sometimes I’ll be in the ditch doing it myself. The top man’s job is to help keep the process running smoothly. I make sure pipe is ready go into the ground. I make sure the rigging is kept up. If we’re shoring, my job is to make sure we have the right jacks in place. Other duties include putting up fence or moving the ladder forward. I run the jumping jack on the backfill, or I’m cutting pipe or mudding the pipe into the structure. If I’m in the ditch, I’m watching for unmarked utilities, checking grade, laying the pipe. We lay ductile iron pipe that’s used for fresh water and storm water.
What’s it like on the job site?
The days go by very fast. There are four guys on my crew. The more pipe we get into the ground the better. If we’re ahead of schedule, that takes the stress level down. Our crew has been together since the beginning of the job that began in January. We’re all about the same age, and we also like to hang out together outside of work.
What do you find most appealing about being a Laborer?
I like working with my hands, and I like working outside. I grew up in Washington and actually like the rain, so working in construction and being a Laborer is a nice fit.
You’re in a classroom session this week. What class are you taking?
I’m in the asbestos class, and it’s one week long. We’re learning how to protect ourselves when handling a hazardous material like asbestos. It was used in so many things in the past, so we learn how to wear Tyvek suits and respirators, and how to set up a room for decontamination. We learn how to clean up after the job is finished and prevent the spread of contaminants.
So, you’re staying in the dorm this week while you complete your class. What’s that like?
Staying in the dorm lets me concentrate on school, so I focus on going to class, then I eat, go the gym, then kick back and relax before bed. Being able to stay at the training center makes it easier to attend class. I don’t have to travel home every day, and that saves money. Plus, I get three meals a day.
Have you found a niche you enjoy? Is there a particular type of laborer work you want to get into?
I’ve been doing mostly pipe work since becoming a Laborer, and I do some grade-checking. I like being on the pipe crew; I like the work and I plan to stay with pipe work into the foreseeable future.
Are there any challenges you’ve encountered as an apprentice?
I’ve been lucky. It’s been a positive experience since the first day I became an apprentice. I also appreciate working with the Journeymen who know the trade and are good mentors.
Off work, what kinds of activities do you enjoy the most?
Since I’m a member of the Army Reserve, I go to the gym regularly to stay in shape and stay active. I also like to run, work out, hike, ride my dirt bike and go hunting. And I’ve got my pup, too. My dog goes everywhere with me. Of course, I had to leave him at home while I’m in class this week.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology has completely transformed the world during your lifetime. Whether you’re 22 or 62, even science fiction writers couldn’t have imagined everything that has changed or been invented while you’ve been around.
One small example: There’s more computing power in your smartphone than there was in the computers that landed the first man on the moon.
And technological advances are definitely not confined to the “high-tech” world. Construction may be the definition of a brick-and-mortar industry, but technology is helping it change and evolve.
Think about the all advances in that powerful smartphone; the same is true for the construction industry. Tools of all kinds evolve to adapt to new methods and materials. Technology has had an enormous impact on how we design, engineer and build structures.
In the traditional sense, you probably think of infrastructure as physical structures like roads and highways; bridges and dams; water, gas and oil pipelines; wastewater treatment plants; and communication networks and power grids. But infrastructure also includes technology. The power of the cloud, machine automation, the Internet of Things, big data and other technological developments are changing everything.
Check out just some of the things happening in construction today:
Ok, some of these concepts may seem a little like sci-fi. But they actually have real potential to enhance design, increase productivity, improve safety and even elevate quality in the construction industry.
The NWLETT Laborers Apprenticeship program will teach you traditional construction skills and techniques – but also give you a look into the exciting world of emerging construction technology. Laborers are consistently among the first in the industry to incorporate new tools and technology that increase productivity.
Learn more about the outstanding benefits of the Laborers Apprenticeship program.
If you’re thinking about what the next step in your life and/or career should be, it might be helpful to hear from someone who was faced with a similar decision.
Read Darrick Jennings’ story, and you’ll see that joining the NWLETT Laborers Apprentice program can be a great decision for some people. Your situation might not be just like his, but the basic question is the same: What’s my best next move?
How did you hear about the Laborers Apprenticeship program?
I was born and raised in Seattle and my life journey was a bit rocky. But things began to get much better in early 2013 when I entered into a six-month pre-apprenticeship program at Seattle Vocational Institute (SVI). A friend told me about the Laborers Apprenticeship program and I was definitely interested in pursuing a chance to work in the construction industry. While at SVI, all the students were assigned to research Turner Construction and write an essay about the company. To my delight, I won the essay competition and got a tool bag with tools as the prize. My first job as a Laborer apprentice was with Turner.
Why did you choose to join the Laborers Apprenticeship program?
I just knew the Laborers Apprenticeship program was the right fit for me. I knew I had the physical capability to do the work, and I felt that I could really prove myself and excel at my job. I also chose the Laborers program because I wanted to be challenged.
What variety of jobs have you done while in the program?
During my time with Turner Construction, and as a new apprentice, I was doing basic tasks, mostly cleanup work. When the project ended after eight months, I was dispatched to Sellen Construction, and I’ve been there ever since. At Sellen, I’ve been doing mostly concrete work and I enjoy it very much.
Where are you in the program right now?
Today is my last day of classroom work here at the Kingston training center. I have over 6,000 hours of on-the-job training, and today I will become a Journeyman Laborer. I’m a member of Laborers Local 242 in Des Moines, and I’m looking forward to our next union meeting in June to receive my Journeyman card and jacket.
What area or field of work/training would you most like to continue in or focus on, and why?
Well, I really like concrete work. There’s a lot of concrete that goes into the construction of large buildings. I enjoy being a part of creating new buildings or doing tenant improvement (TI) work on existing buildings. There may be a time in the future where I want to expand my skills into other areas of Laborer work.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced while working as a Laborer?
You know, since becoming a Laborer I’ve kept my focus and I’ve been able to overcome obstacles. I’ve been able to persevere, and that has made me a stronger person. Everyone is different, and everybody has different views. Some people will stereotype you, and you just have to keep your head down and do the best job you can and prove to them, as well as to yourself, that you can exceed expectations.
What have you found to be the advantages of participating in the Laborers Apprenticeship program?
I’ve been able to meet good people. I always learn by watching and being around people who are sincere in teaching you the craft. I’ve been able to provide for my family. It gives you a great sense of self-worth and builds your self-esteem. I want this for my kids as well. In fact, my 21-year-old son is also in the Laborers Apprenticeship program, and doing very well.
Do you have any advice to give others who are considering joining the apprenticeship program and becoming a Laborer?
I would tell them to join, because it’s a good program. It’s an excellent opportunity to channel the obstacles in your life into a positive experience. It’s about deciding what you’re going to do. Take any negatives with a grain of salt, and instead work hard and stick to your ethics. Embrace what is positive and good; just be you.
We hope Darrick’s story gives you some insight into why the Laborers Apprenticeship program is beneficial for many people looking to start on a solid career path. Contact NWLETT today to find out more.
When you leave the military, that transition is a challenging time. Sure, you meet all kinds of people who are thankful for your service and want to help you, and you can take serious pride in what you’ve learned and accomplished. But you’ve got to identify and start the next phase of your work life, and thank-you’s and attaboys don’t pay the bills.
The things you’re used to, and enjoy – clear structure, strong teamwork, specific mission goals, steady pay and good benefits – aren’t always easy to find in civilian employment. And going to college can be a time-consuming and expensive process, with no guarantee of a job at the end.
But there are some fields of work that are natural fits for ex-military, and construction is one of the best. That’s why a NWLETT apprenticeship program is a great career-transition option.
And the construction industry knows the value of military experience, too. Check out some of these thoughts from industry recruiters and analysts:
“For construction contractors looking to add skilled employees to their business, there isn’t a better pool of candidates to choose from than the men and women transitioning from the military.”
“When I look at my work force, I want guys and girls out there who take pride in what they do. When they take pride in what they do, they tend to work safely and productively. You find a lot of that in the military. You find men and women who take pride in what they do and perform quality work each and every day.”
“If someone has leadership skills and the ability to be responsible, which a lot of our veterans have, they can potentially be a foreman or a supervisor and lead one of our project sites. So the opportunity to not only get paid but to advance is strong.”
Here’s another sign that military service and the construction industry are a good match: a recent article from HireOurHeroes.org outlined the top 14 military-friendly job categories. The first field on that list? The skilled trades – which are the jobs you can learn through a NWLETT apprenticeship.
But let’s break it down and get more specific about why this construction training program might be the way to go for you.
A construction apprenticeship with NWLETT lets you earn a living wage from your first day, with practical on-the-job training and plenty of opportunities for career advancement.
So you’re ready for Act II of your career and life… well, here’s a path that offers a lot for someone in your position. Contact NWLETT.
So, if you’ve been reading along here with our blog, you’ve picked up on the fact that the NWLETT apprentice program for Laborers looks like a smart choice if you’re more interested in getting on-the-job training and cashing checks than putting in four or five years of time and tuition.
But at this point you might have some questions that we haven’t answered in detail, or at all. Here are some questions we commonly get, and straightforward answers to them.
What are the requirements to get in the program?
There are three mandatory requirements: you have to be at least 18 years old, you must have a valid driver’s license, and you need to verify that you have at least a 10th-grade education or a GED.
How do I apply?
We suggest you give our apprenticeship office a call at 800.554.4457. They’ll ask you some questions to determine your next steps – typically, you’ll go to a union hall near your area and submit an application there.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The Laborer apprenticeship program involves 6,000 hours of combined on-the-job and classroom training. This can take from 3 to 5 years to complete – and you’ll be earning a good wage at the same time that you’re learning.
Do I have to take a drug test?
Yes, drug testing is mandatory for everyone in the program.
Are housing and meals free during training?
While you’re attending classes at the Kingston or Satsop training sites, your housing and meals are provided free of cost.
Why do I have to have a valid driver’s license?
On some jobs your employer may require you to drive a company vehicle, so you must be licensed and insurable.
What if I want to be an electrician/carpenter/operator?
Laborers are a separate trade from these fields, and we do not teach these very specialized skills. But, because the scope of a Laborer’s work is broader, we’re generally the first workers on a job and the last to leave. That means more overall work hours for Laborers.
I’ve worked in another state – will my skills transfer?
If you can prove that you’ve performed Laborer work (by showing W2s and pay stubs), you might be eligible for training credit and/or a higher starting wage.
What if I just want to be a flagger?
You’ll learn flagging as part of your apprenticeship. The program is designed to make you a well-rounded Laborer, which will benefit you and your employer in the long run.
What advice can you give me?
Be willing to learn and expand your skills. Being well-rounded in your skills helps you by making you eligible for more types of work. Because Laborer work can be cyclical, that means when one type of work (for example, concrete) slows down, you can pick up other work, like asbestos abatement. The more skills you possess, the more work will be available to you.
We hope this gives you an even better idea of why the NWLETT program is so beneficial for so many people looking to start on a solid career path. But, of course, you might have even more questions; we welcome them. Give us a call at 800.554.4457 and find out if you’re ready to get to work with us.
Quick question: What percentage of college graduates actually work in the field they have a degree in?
Go ahead, take a shot at it. 70 percent? 50 percent? Surely half of college graduates pay off all that time and expense with a job in the field they studied.
Try 27 percent. Yep, that’s the figure that was reported in the Washington Post from a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. So that means only about 1 in 4 degrees gets put to direct use – and that’s after spending an average of nearly $90,000 on a bachelor’s degree. Wow.
Now, compare that with the NWLETT apprenticeship program. First of all, the work you put in, and the (free) training you get, lead to the kind of well-paid job where you put to use exactly what you’ve learned.
Sounds good, right? You get paid while you work and learn, you get specific training for free, and at the end of the program you’re a skilled worker lined up for a successful career.
And here’s what might be the best part of all: Once you become a journeyman there’s a wide variety of specialty areas within the program, and you can request to work in the ones that interest you most.
Check out all the directions you can go within the NWLETT program:
Mason Tender/Hod Carrier – If you have an interest in masonry you can start here, helping a Stonemason by getting the site and materials ready to get the job done right. You’re helping the mason piece together a hands-on puzzle every day.
Concrete Worker – Working with concrete is both fascinating and rewarding. Learn the foundational skills of working with concrete, preparing the worksite as well and placing the concrete where it needs to be. This job is about providing the strength of what’s being built.
Asbestos Abatement/Hazardous Waste Worker – Talk about a valuable and respected skill – it takes specialized training and equipment to identify asbestos and other toxic materials, and you’ll play a crucial role in creating and maintaining safe environments.
Pipe Layer – Who doesn’t like to play in the mud? You’ll get the direct satisfaction of helping install drainage, water and sewer lines, including shoring, soil stabilization and more. Your work may not be visible when you’re done, but it’s critically important.
Highway/Asphalt Layer – You’ve probably been building roads since you had Hot Wheels; imagine being part of the team that’s laying down the real thing. There’s a science and an art to making a good road, and you’ll learn about both.
Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL) – It’s basically an in-depth course in soil science; you’ll control erosion on sites to prevent dirt and pollutants from getting into water, using sophisticated measuring tools and testing water quality.
Traffic Control – There’s so much more to traffic control than holding a flag; you’ll become proficient at reading, interpreting and drawing workzone plans, as well as setting up safety zones and traffic control strategies.
Demolition – If the phrase “break it and take it” gets your blood pumping, demolition may be the job for you. Use a variety of equipment to help perform demo on work sites, drawing satisfaction from getting rid of what’s in the way so something new can be built.
Tunnel Worker – Not everyone can work underground; if you’ve got what it takes to work in confined spaces, you’ll be a valuable asset to any project. Learn to install ventilation, concrete and rail systems, and perform maintenance on giant tunnel-boring machines.
With these kinds of choices, you’ll find something you really enjoy – and then actually get to do it as your career. Contact NWLETT to find out more.
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