Since 2015, Valley Apprenticeship Connections (VAC) has helped over 300 people get a job after completing the 12-week training program preparing students for a career in construction. While the program specializes in providing hands-on training and skills to participants, VAC staff also helps students with placement, networking, and preparing for the interview process.
Recently the program moved to virtual sessions, allowing students to learn from home and get to know the staff. While online learning comes with many challenges, VAC students often overcome their life circumstances to get through the program, find employment, and change their life trajectory.
“Many of our students already struggle with financial barriers, life skills, and finding a job, but our team can connect with students and help them every step of the way,” Amalia Martinez, Assistant Director, said. “Many of our students are on parole or probation, but they go through our program, leaving with job training and able to provide for their families.”
Raul Gonzalez completed the VAC program earlier this year and got a job with a labor union. He started 2020 as a homeless individual struggling to get by and find work, but after enrolling in the program, he was able to get the skills, motivation, and certificates needed to find a job.
“Everyone played a valuable role when it comes to where I am today,” Gonzalez said. “I’m so grateful for the VAC program because they demonstrated love and concern for us. The staff there made me believe if I can dream it, I can do it.”
For Gonzalez, one of the program’s highlights was the “Thinking for a Change” curriculum. With the curriculum, students hear from motivational speakers, improve their communication skills, and manage conflict in the workplace.
“The curriculum made me believe I deserve a better life for myself and I can achieve my goals,” Gonzalez said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it if VAC didn’t offer the classes and thinking for a change.”
Now Gonzalez does precisely what he wanted to when he entered the program. He works as a flagger, traffic safety, and traffic controller. He is one of the 306 VAC students placed in jobs, and the 140 hired on as union members.
VAC’s relationship with employers and getting students ready for the workforce is one of the many things that makes the program successful. Graduates leave with a job packet, including their resume, seven job certifications, a certificate in hands-on demolition work, a certificate of completion for the VAC program as well as all the documents needed for work eligibility.
“Employers are excited to see our students are prepared and job-ready when they leave our program,” Martinez said. “Within 90 days of graduating, we place students with employers who we think are the best fit, and much of the work they need to do is completed. Students are screened, drug tested, and come with hands-on experience.”
VAC doesn’t just place those who complete the program with employers. The program does its best to ensure students are the right fit for the employer they are being placed with, and thanks to VAC, students come with the safety certifications needed to start working right away.
Graduates receive certifications in:
- First Aid
- Confined Space
- Traffic Safety
- Osha 10
- Hazardous Waste
Graduates receive these certificates:
- Blue Print Reading
- Grade Checking
- Successful Completion VAC Program
- Hands On demolition and renovation work
Anyone over the age of 18 can enroll in the VAC program. No experience is needed. Do you know someone interested? Or are you seeking workers for your construction project? Call (559) 263-1110.