On Thursday, June 15, at the Sheraton Mesa Hotel, 64 individuals graduated from the ABA-AGC Education Fund’s three apprenticeship programs, enabling them to be Heavy Equipment Operators, Heavy Equipment Diesel Mechanics and Electricians. 

“Graduating from the program means that these individuals hold journeyman status and will be recognized as certified, competent and highly skilled tradesmen wherever they go,” said the ABA’s Vice President of Training and Development, Fred Ingersoll. “These certifications are well-deserved as these men survived three plus years of juggling class with their lives and full-time jobs to get where they are now.”

Francisco Rivero of Granite Construction, Inc., was honored with the Lloyd Hutchinson Outstanding Heavy Equipment Graduate award, and Robert Burns of Echo Canyon Electric, Inc. received the Ernie Bonham Outstanding Electrical Graduate award. “Both awards were given in recognition of each apprentice’s growth, involvement and accomplishments over the full course of their program,” said Ingersoll.

Department of Labor standards require tradesmen to have at least 144 classroom hours. The ABA-AGC Education Fund significantly exceeds those standards, with some programs calling for more than 480 dedicated hours in intermediate and advanced courses. 

Aside from the 64 that graduated, there are currently 155 individuals in various stages of the three programs, with over 300 already registered to begin courses later this year. “There is a lot of growth in the industry right now, which is reflected in the increasing number of students we’re already seeing for the Fall programs,” said Ingersoll. “The people that complete these apprenticeships are the at the top of their trade and are shaping out to be industry leaders.”

One top performing student of this year’s electrical cohort began instructing this semester, and will return in Fall 2017 as an instructor as well. “This trade has been good to me, and I want to repay the mentorship and experience that others have shared with me throughout the years,” said Kevin Layton, the Service Department Assistant Manager at D.P. Electric. “One lesson that I stress is that the instructors and colleagues that the students meet in the program are part of a network that will be in their lives for years to come and are a huge resource.”

For more information about the ABA-AGC Education Fund’s three apprenticeship programs, visit www.azbuilders.org.