Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2022-06-21T16:32:43-04:00
What is a pre-apprenticeship?2020-08-10T20:43:17-04:00

Building Futures’ pre-apprenticeship is an “on-ramp” into apprenticeship in a construction trade. Building Futures provides a five-week training program that introduces trainees to a variety of careers in construction. You will learn some basic skills to help prepare you for a rigorous career as a tradesperson. Graduates of the program also receive support, if needed, throughout their career.

Apprenticeship is a model of career training in any number of skilled career pathways. Apprentices learn highly skilled occupations from a skilled tradesperson (known as a journeyworker) on-the-job and in the classroom. As you gain more experience in your trade, you earn more money on the job.

However, not all apprenticeship programs are equal. Building Futures works only with apprenticeship programs that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor  and have a track record of graduating apprentices over the past 3-5 years.


How do I become a Registered Apprentice?2020-08-10T20:40:32-04:00

Staff at Building Futures’ pre-apprenticeship program will work with you to evaluate your interests and aptitudes and identify the path that will best meet your needs. After graduation, math tutoring and application supports are offered to assist your successful entry into a trade apprenticeship. Placement can take up to a year post-graduation, depending on your trade of interest, but once you earn acceptance into a trade apprenticeship you are entering a career path that can support you and your family for life.

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?2020-08-10T20:36:44-04:00

Registered apprenticeship is one of the oldest – and most successful – forms of job training, which gives an individual the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’. Most importantly, you do not need to be highly skilled to enter a trade apprenticeship. Instead, over the course of 3-5 years, you will receive hands-on training with related classroom instruction in a skilled craft. Once entered into an apprenticeship you will be paid from your first day of employment; your wages increase each year as you progress both on the job and in the classroom.

Apprenticeship is employment.  An apprentice is paid to work on construction sites. On-the-job training is provided and supervised by trades’ professionals. 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?2019-03-22T16:58:07-04:00

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 is Building Futures for?2020-08-10T19:58:14-04:00

Building Futures serves low-income adults from diverse urban communities.  Learn more about eligibility.

What if I do not have my high school diploma or GED?2020-08-10T20:32:45-04:00

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

How long is the Building Futures program?2020-08-10T20:20:37-04:00

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

However, it may take longer to be placed in a registered apprenticeship program. That depends on industry conditions, the apprenticeship program you want to enter, and your readiness for employment. Building Futures supports program participants as they begin their careers, whether that means helping an individual build math skills to pass an apprenticeship exam, working with participants to align their choice of trade with trades that are actively seeking new apprentices, or referring otherwise qualified candidates to supports like the Roger Williams University pro bono Driver’s License Restoration Project.

What kind of training is available through Building Futures?2020-08-10T20:16:54-04:00

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. See more about the certification and training.

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 graduate, you will receive a graduation certificate from the RI State Apprenticeship Council and from the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3). After you graduate, Building Futures works with you as you apply for registered apprenticeships in building and construction and continues to support you as you start your career.

Does it cost anything?2020-08-10T20:13:31-04:00

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

Do I get paid for my participation in the Building Futures program?2020-08-10T20:12:07-04:00

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

What happens after I complete the Building Futures program?2020-08-10T20:11:18-04:00

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 registered apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades to find opportunities for our graduates.

Alumni of our pre-apprenticeship  have entered many different registered apprenticeships in 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 apprenticeships 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.

Is a career in construction right for me?2020-08-10T20:08:57-04:00

A career in construction is not right for everyone. At minimum, workers in this industry must be able to do the following:

  • Show up, on time, every day
  • Carry heavy loads, 50lbs or more, frequently.
  • Work in the elements: heat, cold, rain, snow etc.
  • Work at height when required
  • Commute and work overtime when necessary
  • Have strong organizational and problem solving skills

The assessment process helps candidates assess if construction is the right fit before beginning the 5-week pre-apprenticeship. 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?2020-08-10T20:06:47-04:00

Building Futures gives qualified candidates the training, certifications, and support to succeed in a registered apprenticeship in building and construction. After graduating our 5-week program, Building Futures will work with you as you apply for an apprenticeship and will continue to support you throughout your apprenticeship and your career.  Graduates go on to careers in one of 11 different trades including, Laborers, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Ironworkers, Painters, Electricians, and Pipefitters.  Building Futures is not a job agency, instead, we help you build your career through apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is employment, it is an earn-while-you-learn training program where your hourly wage increases as your experience and skills increase. Once you are enrolled in an apprenticeship you will be sent to a job site by your trade union or apprenticeship sponsor.

How do I start?2021-02-18T13:01:05-05:00

To protect you and your family during COVID-19, Building Futures has an updated application process as of Fall 2020. Learn more here.

Construction Pre-Apprenticeship
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