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Member Spotlight: Northern California Carpenter’s Regional Council

Welcome to our latest member: The Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, which is dedicated to improving the California building and construction trades industry, working conditions and the standard of living for workers, and building partnerships with employers, contractors and subcontractors by providing stability through a motivated, skilled workforce.

Last year’s massive bridge repair projects in Big Sur and California State University, Monterey Bay’s Student Union and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences buildings currently under construction are among the high-profile projects employing significant numbers of union carpenters, but whether they’re creating concrete formwork for bridges, building wood framing, erecting scaffolding or installing drywall, those members are an integral part of the Monterey Bay region.

Many of those skilled union carpenters are also residents here, challenged to afford housing even as some of their fellow union members help build affordable housing for others. So the issues of livable wages, good medical and retirement benefits are vitally important to the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, says Sean Hebard, Senior Field Representative for Carpenters Local 505/605. “Affordable housing is a big one, from our perspective,” says Hebard. “We need to make sure we address the demand side as well as the supply side.”

MBEP is invested in employment opportunities for our youth, and we are excited to partner with the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. Strong training programs are helping build a skilled workforce for a rapidly evolving industry where technology is playing an increasingly larger role: There’s a waitlist for the union’s various four-year apprenticeship programs, the largest of which is general carpentry, and an outreach program to high schools in the in tri-county region makes young people aware of opportunities across the construction trades. A six-week carpentry pre-apprenticeship for recent high school grads teaches soft skills, safety basics and financial literacy and has dramatically cut attrition rates for those who later enter the carpentry apprenticeship program. And a helmets-to-hardhats program ensures that military veterans are eligible for apprenticeship opportunities.

“Affordable housing and market rate housing needs to get built, and roads and highways need to get built,” says Hebard. “Our members do all those things.”

Pictured, third-period apprentice Anders Chippindale, Local 217, and carpenter foreman Steven White, Local 217, set a frame at CSU Monterey Bay student union building. Photo courtesy of The Northern Caifornia Carpenters Regional Council.

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