VVC Graduates First Construction-Apprenticeship Readiness Program

VICTOR VALLEY COLLEGE – Eleven individuals in the High Desert recently became the first graduating cohort of Victor Valley College’s Construction-Apprenticeship Readiness Program, a grant-funded initiative aimed at helping students become competitive for trade careers.

The students were presented with certificates during a luncheon ceremony in VVC’s Student Activities Center on Thursday (Feb. 7), joined by representatives from the Riverside-San Bernardino Building and Construction Trades Councils. “We are proud of all of you — not only for making it into this program, but for getting through,” said Frank Castaños, VVC Contract Education and Workforce Programs. “You guys are the pioneers for this class.”

The program is funded by the California Apprenticeship Initiative, which is administered by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. VVC received about $443,000 to send 60 students through the program, according to Amber Allen, director of special grant programs. “This program is to prepare them to apply to apprenticeships,” Allen said, explaining apprenticeships as an opportunity to “learn and earn” simultaneously. “Usually we’re accruing debt when we’re in college, but this is the opposite.”

Over the five-week class, students learned from Construction Technology Department Chair Anthony Bonato and adjunct instructor Bruce Painter. They completed 150 hours of training, from how to use power tools and read blueprints to algebra and the history of labor unions.

Justin Jones, 25, said he joined the class because he’s had a passion for carpentry since taking four years of it in high school.
“I only was thinking about woodworking when I came in, but I’ve been exposed to so much more,” Jones said. “I didn’t know carpentry covered so many different trades. There are so many opportunities outside of a regular job.”

Similarly, Dario Rubio, 23, said his understanding of the industry was expanded during field trips to various local training centers. “This program was an eye-opener to the behind-the-scenes of construction,” Rubio said. “I would definitely recommend this program to someone else.”

Students in the Construction-Apprenticeship Readiness Program also earn certifications in CPR and first aid and complete 10 hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training.
The next cohort of students will begin training March 4.

For more information, call (760) 245-4271 ext. 2152.


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