FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is an apprentice?

An apprentice is an entry level worker who learns most of their trade on the job from an experienced trades-person or journeyman.

What is an apprenticeship?

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.

What is commercial construction?

Commercial construction is not homebuilding. 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.

Who can participate in Building Futures?

Anyone who is between 18 and 35 years of age, low-income and a Rhode Island resident may participate in Building Futures. You must be physically able to do construction work and have a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and a GED or high school diploma before being placed in an apprenticeship. [Building Futures can help you with barriers to employment such as a suspended drivers’ license.]

What if I do not have my high school diploma or GED?

Building Futures no longer offers GED instruction on site, however, we can refer you to other classes nearby.

Do I have to live in Rhode Island?

Yes, Building Futures is only open to those living in Rhode Island.

How long is the Building Futures program?

The formal program is about two months long. However, it may take many more months to be placed in an apprenticeship program, depending on an individual’s barriers to employment. For example, if your driver’s license is suspended, it may take some time to pay your fines and get the license re-instated, a requirement for completion of the program.

What kind of training is available through Building Futures?

Building Futures does provide training, we do not teach you an entire construction trade. The formal Registered Apprenticeships we have partnerships with are well designed and 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. Part of how we make this match for you is by providing a 5 week, hands on training component in our program that covers all of the basic construction skills and knowledge you will need in any trade.

This training is called Building Futures 200 (because it is 200 hours long) and when you successfully pass, you will receive a graduation certificate from the RI State Apprenticeship Council. After you graduate from Building Futures, then we will help connect you with the right apprenticeship for you. That is where you will continue your training in a construction career.

Does it cost anything?

Participation in Building Futures is free. We are supported by a variety of different grants from federal, state and private sources.

Do I get paid for my participation in the Building Futures program?

A small stipend is awarded for those who participate in our 5-week hands on training.

What happens after I complete the Building Futures program?

You will be placed on a waiting list for an opening in the apprenticeship program that you and our staff have decided is best for you.

How long will it take me to start work?

It may take from a few months to a year or more before you will be placed in an apprenticeship and start to work. The length of time depends on many factors including: the seriousness of your barriers to employment, the specific trade you are entering, and the time of year that you complete our program.

What if I learn that Building Futures is not the right fit for me?

Commercial construction is not for everybody. Building Futures helps you decide if it’s right for you. There are no consequences for leaving the program if you find it’s not right for you.

How will Building Futures help me find a job?

Building Futures does not help individuals find jobs. Because 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.

How do I start?

The first step in our process is to complete an informational orientation. Attending an orientation is required for all those who would like to participate in our program. To find out when our next orientation will be given, please visit our Program Events page for the orientation schedule.

How can prepare for enrollment?

Update your RI ID or Driver’s License. If your license is suspended, 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. You should also have access to the following documentations: birth certificate, social security card, high school diploma or GED certificate.