San Francisco and Northern California Laborers Launch First State-Certified Citywide Public Maintenance Apprenticeship

Partnership between City government and one of California’s fastest-growing construction unions will provide training and employment to essential workers while accelerating San Francisco's economic recovery
December 06, 2022

San Francisco, CA - This afternoon at City Hall, Mayor London Breed joined city officials and labor leaders to celebrate the launch of  the City’s Laborers Apprenticeship Program, the first state-certified initiative of its kind to provide skilled workers to multiple city agencies. Apprentices enrolled in the program will be available to perform a variety of essential services, including street cleaning for San Francisco Public Works and maintaining public spaces for the Recreation and Parks Department, while earning training credentials.

The City’s Laborers Apprenticeship Program is coordinated by the San Francisco Department of Human Resources’ "ApprenticeshipSF" program to recruit underserved job seekers in local disadvantaged communities for public sector employment. The program builds on the success of nearly 15 years of partnership between the Northern California Laborers and various city agencies, including Recreation and Parks, which today also graduated the latest class of gardener apprentices before the City and County of San Francisco combines all such training pathways into a single, innovative citywide pool of apprentices in early 2023.

“This partnership with the Northern California Laborers is the exact kind of solution we need to create opportunities for people to not only get on the job training for stable, well-paying careers, but to earn a paycheck while they are learning,” said Mayor London Breed. “As part of our economic recovery, we know we need to grow our workforce to deliver the basic city services our residents deserve. Through programs like this, CityBuild, and our Opportunities for All, we are trying to remove financial barriers to people getting the training they need to provide for themselves and their families, while setting the foundation for their long-term success.”  

“We’re proud to partner with the City of San Francisco to launch the Citywide Public Maintenance Apprenticeship and provide training opportunities in essential work for the community,” said Leonard Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Laborers Training Center which serves 46 counties for the Northern California District Council of Laborers, that represents 30,000 union members and one of the state's largest apprenticeship programs, including over 4,000 active apprentices. “Apprenticeship is an opportunity to earn while you learn that helps San Francisco hire the workforce necessary to support the city’s economic recovery coming out of the pandemic.”

Today, the City and County of San Francisco and Northern California Laborers formalized the partnership by establishing a ten-member Joint Apprenticeship Committee to oversee the program, including labor and management representatives, as well as non-voting participation by the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), and City College of San Francisco.

“We are thrilled that our collective work and partnership with the Northern California Laborers has led to the establishment of the new Joint Apprenticeship Committee”, said Carol Isen, Human Resources Director. “Apprenticeships can create promising new pathways for workers to well-paying city jobs. On-the-job training with an experienced mentor leads to a nationally recognized apprentice credential and creates safer city worksites with a stable and reliable worker pipeline and higher employee retention rates.”

The City’s Laborers Apprenticeship Program aims to enroll over 100 apprentices over the next three years, with a goal of connecting other training programs such as the CityBuild pre-apprenticeship and other programs that provide as-needed workers to the public maintenance apprenticeship pipeline. Program completion qualifies graduates for full-time journey level positions in multiple City departments, as well as prevailing wage opportunities in the private sector construction industry.

The program expects to begin accepting applications in early 2023.