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    :: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 ::

    Help wanted in booming construction industry, groups respond to labor crunch - By: CHRIS BAGLEY, North County Times, CA
    Among both unionized firms and nonunion firms, apprentices typically work full time for a contractor. Some training programs offer classes for several hours each week; others offer a solid week of classes once every few months. Training centers usually have several classrooms along with work areas where apprentices can practice and test their skills.

    The carpenters union is moving its training program from a 45,000-square-foot building in Colton to a 95,000-square-foot space in Ontario. The move is designed to allow the carpenters to offer more classes; for carpentry apprentices who live in Southwest County, it will also shorten their drive.

    Pat Leonard, a nonunion contractor in Temecula, credits unions with taking the lead on educating apprentices. Nonunion companies, through Associated Builders and other contractors organizations, have gotten into it only recently but are catching up quickly, said Leonard, whose company, Temecula Mechanical, installs plumbing systems.

    In many cases, their options are limited. State contracting laws require public-works projects to be awarded to companies where apprentices make up certain percentages of the work force.
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