Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2019-04-10T18:59:22+00:00
What is an apprentice?2019-03-22T16:50:30+00:00

An apprentice is an entry level worker who learns most of their trade on the job from an experienced trades person or journeyworker. Apprenticeship is employment. As an apprentice, an individual’s wages and job responsibilities increase with their time spent on the job. Only apprenticeships that are registered with the state of Rhode Island are guaranteed to offer quality training and career growth opportunities. You can learn about the occupations that have active apprenticeship programs at RI’s Department of Labor and Training.

What is an apprenticeship?2019-03-22T16:53:13+00:00

Apprenticeship is employment. Registered apprenticeship is a system in which trainees learn a craft or trade by hands-on experience while working with a skilled worker. Some classroom education may also be involved. Construction apprenticeships last between 3 and 5 years, depending on the trade.

In the building and construction trades, apprenticeship programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction to train individuals to become skilled craftspeople. An apprentice is paid to work on construction sites. On-the-job training is provided and supervised by trades’ professionals. On-the-job training is supplemented with classroom training provided by individual trade unions at either local or regional facilities. In Rhode Island, construction trades apprenticeship programs range from 3-5 years. After completing all the requirements, the apprentice becomes a journey-level craftsperson.

At a local level, each apprenticeship program is administered by Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATCs), made up of equal numbers of employer and employee representatives in the specific trade or craft. Apprenticeship programs and their standards are developed by the training committees and then approved by the RI Department of Labor and Training. Individual employers or employer associations can also sponsor apprenticeship programs. Only apprenticeships registered with the RI Department of Labor and Training guarantee quality training and career opportunities.

What type of construction do graduates do?2019-03-22T16:58:07+00:00

Building Futures prepares you for an apprenticeship in a trade that performs large scale construction (not home building). It’s complicated, fast paced, and involves all of the skilled trades (carpenter, laborer, plumber, painting, electrician, etc) to complete a large construction project such as a high-rise office building, major bridge or new public school building. Learn more about where Building Futures’ alumni work.


Who can participate in Building Futures?2020-03-04T22:00:53+00:00

Building Futures is welcome to low-income adults, 18+.  You must be physically able to do construction work, successfully pass a drug test, and have a GED or high school diploma to complete the pre-apprenticeship program. You must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation before being placed in an apprenticeship. Building Futures can help you with barriers to employment such as a suspended driver’s license.

What if I do not have my high school diploma or GED?2019-03-22T15:35:28+00:00

Building Futures doesn’t offer GED classes, but we can refer to you a neighborhood program.

How long is the Building Futures program?2019-03-22T16:40:17+00:00

It takes just under three months to complete the program from Orientation to Graduation.

However, it may take longer to be placed in an apprenticeship program. That depends on the apprenticeship program you want to enter and your readiness for employment. Our goal is to support the success of program participants, whether that means helping an individual create a payment plan towards a license suspension, build math skills to pass an apprenticeship exam, or work with participants to align their choice of trade with trades that are actively seeking new apprentices.

What kind of training is available through Building Futures?2019-03-22T16:38:55+00:00

Building Futures provides a hands-on 5-week training that covers basic skills and knowledge you will need in any trade. We do not teach you an entire construction trade. The registered apprenticeship programs we partner with in the building and construction trades are the best way for an apprentice to learn all of the skills needed in a trade.

Building Futures evaluates an individual’s interests, skills, and employment readiness and provides in-depth information to help participants determine if they are a good match for commercial construction apprenticeships.

The 5-week training we offer is called Building Futures 200 (because it is 200 hours long). When you successfully pass, you will receive a graduation certificate from the RI State Apprenticeship Council. After you graduate from Building Futures, we will help connect you to the right apprenticeship for you. From there, you will continue your training in a construction career.

Does it cost anything?2019-03-22T16:36:39+00:00

Building Futures is free for program participants. Our partnerships with federal, state, city, and private funders make it possible to offer our programming at no cost to participants.

Do I get paid for my participation in the Building Futures program?2019-03-22T15:20:45+00:00

Participants of Building Futures’ 5-week hands on training (BF 200) are awarded a training allowance.

What happens after I complete the Building Futures program?2019-03-22T16:33:13+00:00

Large-scale construction involves many different skilled trades that come together to complete a project, whether that project is a commercial high-rise building, road, bridge, or public institution. We partner with the highest quality apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades to find opportunities for our graduates.

Alumni of our pre-apprenticeship program have entered many different apprenticeship programs in the building trades occupations, such as: bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, glazier, ironworker, insulator, laborer, plumber, pipefitter, sheet-metal worker, and tile setter.

Building Futures has relationships with all of the apprenticeship programs associated with the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council. Building Futures will help you make the decision about where to build your career. Each trade has a different process– some take graduates annually, some monthly. Our staff will work with you to get placed in the trade that offers you the best opportunity for success.

What if I learn that construction is not the right fit for me?2019-03-22T16:25:50+00:00

Large scale construction is not for everybody. There are multiple opportunities to learn about what it’s like to work in construction during our program. Building Futures will help you decide if this career path is a good fit for you before starting our 5-week program. If you decide that construction is not for you, there are no consequences for not continuing on.

Even if construction is not the right career for you, you may find a good fit for your career goals with a registered apprenticeship in a different industry.

How will Building Futures help me find a job?2019-03-22T16:22:55+00:00

Apprenticeship is employment. After graduation Building Futures helps to make the connection to a registered apprenticeship program in one of the building and construction trades. We’re not a traditional job agency. We help you build your career through apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are earn-while-you-learn programs. Once you are enrolled in an apprenticeship you will be sent to a job site by your trade union or apprenticeship host.

How do I start?2019-03-22T14:32:33+00:00

Attend an orientation. Attending an orientation is required for all those who would like to participate in our program, even if you’ve attended one in previous program cycles. Arrive early, there is no late entry! Orientation Dates

How can prepare for enrollment?2019-03-22T16:20:45+00:00

To prepare for enrollment, it’s helpful to get the following documents in order:  birth certificate, social security card, high school diploma or GED certificate. You can also make sure you have an up-to-date Rhode Island ID or Driver’s License. If your license is suspended, you can visit the Operator Control office at the John O. Pastore Complex, 30 Howard Avenue – Bldg. 58, Cranston, RI 02920 to get information about validating your driver’s license. If you can’t access any of the needed documents our staff can help, just let us know at orientation.