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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 ::

    2,600 apply for 50 apprenticeships in Oak Ridge - The Associated Press
    The warhead plant hasn't had a major on-the-job, blue-collar training program like this for years. The apprenticeship program faded in the late 1970s and saw a brief revival around 1990. It's being revived again now because of anticipated retirements among the plant's 4,500-employee work force. As much as half of the work force may be eligible to retire already.

    The Y-12 plant, located about 20 miles west of Knoxville, produces uranium components for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and serves as this country's primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium.

    Officials are screening applicants, and hiring should begin soon. Those not selected for the apprenticeships this year likely will have a shot next year.

    'If we hire at the rate of 50 a year, it will take about 10 years to get our work force fully self-sustainable,' Klemm said.

    The apprenticeships will last four years. Jobs include electricians, boilermakers, carpenters, ironworkers and machinists. The pay starts at $19.30 an hour, and the jobs will require 40 hours a week at the plant and 10 hours a week in union-sponsored classroom training.
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