The apprenticeship model is leading the way in preparing workers to compete in today’s ever-changing economy. Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) and related classroom instruction, whereby students learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.
IBEW-NECA electrical training programs take place under the supervision of journey-level, state-certified trade professionals. The apprenticeship provides a living wage with regular promotions, along with health benefits and retirement pension for you and your family. As well, in partnership with Santa Rosa Junior College, you will be earning credits toward an Associate Degree with no college debt upon graduation.
We receive about 300 applicants every year for our electrical training programs. It is a highly selective process, as we're only able to accept around 15 to 30 new apprentices each year. Since we're investing roughly $50,000 toward your education and future success, we're looking for career-minded individuals* who demonstrate exceptional aptitude, integrity, motivation, and work ethic. For those outstanding candidates with math proficiency and mechanical skills, the REJATC offers training and employment toward a dignified, lifelong career in the electrical industry.
* In accordance with Title 29 (part 30) of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Redwood Empire JATC ensures equal opportunity to all applicants and apprentices, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 years or older), genetic information, or disability.
There are two different training programs offered: Inside Wireman and Sound & Communication. Each program provides a living wage, health benefits (medical, dental & vision), and retirement pension, based on hours worked.
The Inside Wireman program is a five-year apprenticeship that consists of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) and 900 hours of classroom instruction.
Classes are held four times a year, from September through May, in dedicated week-long sessions* at our electrical training center in Santa Rosa. Apprentices earn a living wage while they work and learn, with salary starting at 40% of Journeyman wages. Over the course of the program, there are stepwise salary increases of 5% upon successful completion of classroom instruction and every 750-1,000 hours worked. Current starting salary for a beginning Inside Wireman apprentice is $23.04/hr.
The Inside Wireman installs and maintains all of the electrical conduits, wires, cables, motor controls, and panelboards found in commercial and industrial facilities. Whereas an Outside Lineman focuses on the distribution network that brings electricity from its sources of generation to customers, the Inside Wireman is connecting and managing that power source for the customer's electrical systems.
The work of an Inside Wireman covers a wide range of facilities, including hospitals, universities, manufacturing plants, scientific institutes, wineries, and other businesses. One day the Inside Wireman may be installing an energy management, fire alarm, or security system in a high-rise building, and the next day he/she may be installing conduit in a ditch outside of another commercial property.
Many of the conduit systems are exposed and must be installed to exacting standards, using neat, precise, and workmanlike craftsmanship. Each type of installation requires specific knowledge, skills, and tasks, and the apprenticeship training provides them all.
* Apprentices will be eligible for state unemployment benefits during their week-long sessions of classroom instruction.
SOUND & COMMUNICATION
The Sound & Communication (S&C) Installer/Technician program is a three-year apprenticeship that consists of 4,800 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) and 480 hours of classroom instruction.
Classes are held one day per month, from September through May, at the Northern California Sound & Communication technology training center in San Leandro. Apprentices earn a living wage while they work and learn, with salary starting at 55% of Installer wages. Over the course of the program, there are stepwise salary increases of 5% upon successful completion of classroom instruction and every 800 hours worked. Current starting salary for a beginning S&C Installer apprentice is up to $24.04/hr., depending on location.
Alongside the Inside Wireman, the S&C Installer performs installation and maintenance of sound and communication systems in commercial and industrial facilities. The S&C Installer is trained on the skills and craftsmanship to implement the network of wiring, cabling, and components for high-end computer, video, voice/data, sound/audio, security, and fire/life safety systems.
The information for the training programs available, and how to apply, is given in the sections above. Please review them carefully, if you have not already done so. Meanwhile, here are several common questions that may also be helpful as guidance.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO APPLY ONLINE?
You may find the application for the REJATC apprenticeships in the Form Downloads section, below. The PDF (next to the lightning bolt) is fillable online. However, you'll need to print out the completed application and bring it with you to submit, in person, on application day (see above for more details).
If you would like to apply for the Sound & Communication training program, you may fill out and submit your application through the Northern California JATC website.
NOTE: If you are not able to print out the application (e.g., at home or from the public library), you may contact us with a request for any special accommodations.
ARE THERE RESOURCES TO LEARN ABOUT THE TRADES?
The North Bay Trades Introduction Program (TIP) is a free apprenticeship preparation & readiness workshop. The program is designed especially for those who do not have trade experience, who are seeking to start or change careers. Priority is given to disadvantaged adults, women, and veterans.
For those accepted into the program, TIP provides an introductory overview and skills training to prepare for apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. The course includes guest speakers, occupational safety and health administration certifications, and hands-on instruction with tools and materials at union worksites and training centers.
TIP is offered at different times and locations in the North Bay throughout the year. The program usually lasts for 10 weeks (128 hours), though sometimes the training is condensed into four weeks. The standard course begins with a concentrated 40-hour week, followed by evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the remaining weeks.
Interested individuals are encouraged to register for an orientation meeting, in helping to decide whether TIP offers the right path toward your future career in the building trades. When applying for apprenticeships, at the discretion of the interview committee, TIP graduates may be given favorable consideration in the ranking of apprentice candidates.
Tradeswomen, Inc. is another excellent resource which provides free monthly workshops to assist women candidates in learning about and cultivating careers in the skilled trades. For general info to prepare for unionized work, Building California Construction Careers may be a useful introduction.
WHAT IS ONLINE TECH MATH & ELECTRIC PREP?
If you do not meet the math requirements to apply for apprenticeship (see above), you may complete the Online Tech Math course. This technical course has been designed for individuals to learn or refresh the math skills used in the electrical construction industry.
As a cooperative effort between the Electrical Training Alliance and the University of Tennessee's Independent Study Program, you can register for the online math course and complete it (within four months) at your own convenience and pace. The registration fee is $125, which includes a scientific calculator and math textbook that will be sent to you in the mail.
In contrast, the Electric Prep online courses help to prepare individuals for the application process and apprenticeship program. Some of the courses are free (e.g., providing a better understanding of the work and benefits of becoming an IBEW-NECA electrical worker), while other courses may cost between $30-$50 (e.g., preparing you specifically for the aptitude test or committee interview).
WHEN ARE APPLICANTS NOTIFIED?
Qualified applicants are informed of their aptitude testing date when they submit their completed materials on application day, which is the first Wednesday in January, April, July, and October.
About four to six weeks after the aptitude test, applicants with a qualifying score are notified of their committee interview date, which typically takes place in March, June, September, and December.
In general, new apprentices are accepted into our training programs in May and June. Your ranking among prospective candidates is valid for two years from the date of your committee interview.
Please know that apprentice candidates are applying for a career in the electrical industry. The entire process takes many months, or even a year or longer, to be accepted into the training program.
HOW CAN I MOVE UP THE RANKING LIST?
In order to improve your ranking score, you will have to re-interview with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. Applicants may make a one-time request to re-interview after a minimum of 90 days from their original interview, if there have been significant changes to their qualifications (i.e., gaining at least 450 hours of work experience in the electrical construction industry, or successfully completing at least two college-level trade related courses).
Apprentice candidates are also welcome to reapply to the REJATC after two years, when their ranking expires from their original application and committee interview.
DOES THE APPRENTICESHIP HAVE EXPENSES?
There are a few expenses that you should consider, as part of your training. These associated costs may include, but are not limited to: Having a laptop for home use and classroom instruction; books; transportation; special clothing for harsh environments; and union dues & work assessments.
WHERE CAN I FIND A SCHEDULE OF CLASSES?
Apprentices and Journeymen may find a calendar for the electrical training center on the About Us page, updated with schedules for classes as they become available.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROGRAM BENEFITS?
The apprenticeship training programs include full health benefits (medical, dental & vision) for you and your family. Apprentices also begin earning contributions toward pension retirement funds after the first 1,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT). For more information on the IBEW-NECA organizations and community, please visit our About Us page.
In addition to receiving a living wage while you work and learn, you can be earning debt-free college credit toward an Associate Degree in partnership with the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC). As an apprentice, you have access to all of the SRJC student services, including free counseling, tutorial centers, and child care, among many others.
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If you have questions about the apprenticeship programs or application process that have not been addressed in the information sections above, please contact the REJATC training center.
Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants and apprentices may review, download, and fill out the forms as needed.