How Apprenticeship Works

How Mr. Brickie’s Apprentice Program Works

I’m not using real numbers because not only am I not sure if I’m supposed to tell, the numbers vary by state. For example, right now a journeyman in parts of Indiana makes about $10/hr. less than a journeyman in parts of Illinois due to cost of living.

Without further ado, here is a poorly documented history of how Mr. Brickie got from there to here.

There was an open test and Mr. Brickie went in and took the test. There was no limit to how many people could take the test and only the people with the top 25 scores on the math, mechanical, and written tests would be interviewed.

Interviews happened.

He was informed that he would start the apprentice training program. It was an 8-week program that paid a $125 weekly stipend for gas. This is the biggest obstacle for an adult who might want to change his/her career once they have actual bills and responsibilities. There was a test after (I think) week 2, week 7, and week 8. If you failed any of these tests two times you were kicked out of the program altogether. If you were late or absent so many times you were kicked out of the program.

I don’t know what other people did when training was over. Mr. Brickie and I made a list of ALL the local businesses in addition to driving around looking for signs on buildings made of brick listing construction companies. His training coordinator also helped him. There is an absolute ton of hustle required to get yourself going when you first get out of training and need a job.

His time as a marketing consultant was immensely helpful becuase Mr. Brickie has great networking skills. If you want people to look out for jobs for you? Networking is your #1 way to get there if you don’t already have family in the union. That is why he attends every single union meeting and talks to the people who oversee the jobs, the officers of the union itself, and people he has worked with in the past. It has become much easier to find job leads now that he knows people who are looking out for him.

If you go to your related training, the meetings, and work a certain number of hours it goes like this for pay:

40% apprentice = 40% of a journeyman wage.
50% apprentice = 50% of a journeyman wage.
60% apprentice = 60% of a journeyman wage.
70% apprentice = 70% of a journeyman wage.
80% apprentice = 80% of a journeyman wage.
90% apprentice = 90% of a journeyman wage.
…and of course a journeyman makes journeyman wage so that’s 100%

The journeyman wage changes yearly due to contract changes, etc. so if I gave you a number it would be outdated within a year. As an example, let’s say for the sake of easy math journeyman wage is $40.

Journeyman = $40
90% apprentice = $36
80% apprentice = $32
70% apprentice = $28
60% apprentice = $24
50% apprentice = $20
40% apprentice = $16

So, even though all apprentices are keeping their eye on the $40/hr. prize, everyone starts down at $16/hr. and works at that level for hundreds of hours before they are bumped up to the next level. It normally takes three years, but Mr. Brickie started during the worst year in the history of the union since its inception so….it’s going to take him a little longer. In the meantime, every bump on the scale feels huge because a four dollar an hour raise isn’t anything to sneeze at.

I think it’s also easy to see why choosing this path included leaving the house behind.

As of January 1st, 2017 Mr. Brickie is an 80% apprentice.