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cally seasonal, so apprentices aren’t penalized if they aren’t working a portion of that time. They can still study and take tests until they are rehired, Cartier says. Like union apprenticeship programs, ABC apprentices earn a percentage of the wage of a journeyman worker, beginning at 50 percent for entry-level apprentices.

One Apprentice’s Self-Determination Apprentice John Moss is working through the last few months of an electrical apprenticeship through ABC. Moss, who recently turned forty, is not the average apprentice. He’s been part of two unions previously— he spent eleven years as a member of Alaska Laborers Local 341 and also worked as an equipment operator with Alaska Operating Engineers; however, he wanted to learn a trade that would take him into retirement. Moss says he considered applying for an apprenticeship through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers but was put off by the estimated six-month wait he was told he’d have before an interview and also by the requirement that apprentices be out of work for training up to seven weeks a year. “My priorities were getting a good-paying job and providing for my family,” he says.

He says he knew he’d be taking a pay cut by going through an apprenticeship program, as entry-level electrical apprentices earn less than he was making in the construction field. But it was worth it to learn a new trade, he says. In two months, Moss was interviewed and being called up for work. He had to turn down two North Slope jobs because at the time, he needed a job that would keep him near his family. But he soon found a position with Samsung Electric and worked with them for four years. He recently went to work for Udelhoven on the North Slope. He says he’s been really pleased with the mentors he’s had during his apprenticeship so far. Moss says he has “great praise” for ABC. Union apprenticeship programs might have more money invested in them, he says, but some of the benefits he has as a non-union employee is that he doesn’t have to pay union dues or contribute part of his paycheck to a training fund. He also gets full control of his retirement, instead of relying on a group pension.

Nationally Certified NCCER Training ABC of Alaska offers training through the National Center for Construction Education and Research, or NCCER. It’s a na-

tional nonprofit education foundation that develops standardized construction and maintenance curriculum and assessments and offers credentials that can be transported from state to state through NCCER’s online registry. ABC accepts transfers from other apprenticeship programs, provided the apprentice has evaluation forms and transcripts of book-work accomplished so far. It’s not uncommon for them to take on apprentices who have transferred from AVTEC, the state-run vocational and technical school in Seward, or from King Career Center in Anchorage, the University of Alaska Anchorage, or even the Department of Corrections. In addition to apprenticeships, ABC of Alaska does certification training, such as a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration ten-hour course often required for employees. Certification courses are all handled online, Cartier says, and they’re free. While apprentices and others who take the certification classes all get written certifications, a second step NCCER provides is entry in its national register. That requires a second level of evaluation—a performance evaluation, Cartier says. ABC previously offered performance evalua-


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March 2016 | Alaska Business Monthly


Alaska Business Monthly March 2016  

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Alaska Business Monthly March 2016  

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