FAQs and Myths
They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question. They are wrong, as anyone who’s ever uttered the words, “What does this button do?” can tell you. The questions below are not stupid questions; they are FAQs. Just don’t ask what FAQs are. That would be a stupid question.
You betcha. Students can check in from 4 p.m. until midnight the evening prior to their course at the Kingston and Elma (Satsop) training sites. Dinner is served at the Kingston site on Sunday nights from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The Pasco, Spokane, and West Jordan, Utah, sites are not live-in facilities.
Yep, upon successful completion of a course. The rate is based on one round trip, and is determined by the distance from the student’s local union hall to the training site.
You will be in big, big trouble. Kidding. If for any reason you are unable to attend, please call the training program office as soon as possible. For Kingston, call 1-800-240-9112; for Utah, call 801-280-7195.
Here comes the answer everyone loves… it depends. Some courses run for as long as two weeks, and some are one day in length. Usually courses are eight hours per day, Monday through Friday.
For courses at the training sites that are one day or longer, check-in time is between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. In Kingston, courses start promptly at 8 a.m.; in Satsop, at 7:30 a.m., and at Des Moines, 7:00 a.m.
Check-in time is usually 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. the morning of the course. If a student is rooming at the site, it’s 4 p.m. to midnight the night before. Check-in is located at the main office building. Students will fill out class registration paperwork and receive towels and a room key, if necessary. Jammies are your responsibility. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.
Work clothes, work boots, gloves and rain gear are required. Students are responsible for bringing their own personal grooming items and laundry soap, if needed. There is an on-site laundry facility for students’ use.
The training program will notify students of any specific clothing and/or equipment needs. Bed linens and bath and hand towels are provided. The school also furnishes necessary tools, materials and books.
If a course is more than a day in length, a room will be provided. Depending on availability, you may share a room with another student. Two rooms share one bathroom. Separate facilities are provided for women.
Yes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided to students attending a course. Breakfast is from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Lunch is served at noon. Dinner is from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
The Kingston training site offers a TV lounge and board games for students to use after training hours. In addition, beaches, hiking trails, a movie theatre, shopping and other outdoor activities are located nearby.
Students enrolled in two-week courses can receive housing and meals on the weekend. Students should inform their instructor when they arrive if these arrangements need to be made.
In-local courses are given by NWLETT instructors at the local union hall or at an employer’s site. In-local courses are generally refreshers and take place in the evening hours. For example, an eight-hour flagging course could take place from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. over two evenings.
Sign up for in-local courses at your local union hall. If you wish to take an in-local course offered by another local union hall, ask your business agent to call the hall offering the course and find out if there is room in the course for you to attend.
Fact: Baloney. College isn’t for everyone, and the attitude that every high school graduate should attend college does a real disservice to those who don’t, by limiting their opportunity for career preparation.
Today’s workforce requires skills that can be obtained through a technical college or an apprenticeship program. Students who enjoy working with their hands, designing and building in the construction industry are in demand and are well paid. A skilled craftsman is a career to be proud of.
Fact: Construction workers are in high demand, but career training to acquire knowledge and skills is a must.
Many laborers actually have some college education; otherwise they are considered skilled tradesmen. Construction is one of the only industries where employers continually pay for, host or send their employees to receive training. Apprenticeships are highly competitive. From education regarding OSHA safety regulations to classes, seminars and conferences regarding the latest construction technology and innovation, construction professionals are constantly improving their skill sets.
Workers interested in pursuing project management or other upper-level positions are often required to obtain a degree or further technical training. In a competitive market, especially the post-recession construction market, it can be very difficult for uneducated or inexperienced workers to find a job.
Fact: Sure, working in construction can be dangerous, but current safety standards and regulations have made the construction industry as safe as it has ever been. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics states that fatal work injuries in the private construction sector have decreased every year since 2006. Companies have learned that developing risk management plans, observing regular safety meetings and keeping a continuous eye on safety decreases construction site accidents and injuries. Also, tool manufacturers and equipment vendors are producing equipment with built-in safety features. They are also hosting their own orientations, trainings and safety meetings, which further the cause of “Safety First.”
Fact: Most construction professionals are exactly where they want to be. Construction offers a multitude of jobs for a variety of skill sets, from planning and building to organizing and managing. Individuals who start in a trade when they’re young receive more continual education and training than the majority of their professional counterparts. This is especially true when you consider that less than half of the workforce claims their job requires a college degree.
Construction workers are employed in an industry that typically works Monday through Friday, with regular working hours and holidays off. They are also fairly compensated for overtime. Plus, it is very satisfying to work in a profession where you can work with your hands as well as your head, and can see the products of your labor on a daily basis. Not to mention, the majority of houses, bridges, roads, high-rises, etc., that you build will be there for decades—if not centuries—to come.
Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Construction begins long before a single construction worker and their tool ever arrives on the scene. City and town planners, economists, engineers and architects are not performing “simple” jobs. Neither are the trained and skilled workers who show up every day using modern innovation and construction technology to build the world we live in. Construction requires a greater ability to “think outside the box,” as well as in-the-moment problem-solving skills that are not required in many other professions.
Fact: Construction is a multibillion-dollar industry. From residential homes to fancy hotels and high-rises to our complex transportation systems, there are plenty of opportunities for construction workers to get ahead and earn a very decent living.
Consider that the median salary for construction project managers is $82,790 and it is quickly obvious that professional success is a real possibility for construction professionals who are interested in working up through the ranks. It is also one of the few job markets left where entrepreneurs and skilled workers who want to start their own company have the opportunity to grow a lucrative business.
Fact: People choose the construction industry because they like to work, use their smarts, show their skills and enjoy the challenges. Individuals with excellent math and reading skills enter this industry to build amazing structures. Construction professionals work with their hands as well as their brains, and take pride in getting an idea from conception to the final product.
Fact: The truth is that many construction workers earn more per hour than university graduates, and an average construction worker’s annual salary is greater than the overall national average salary. If you work your way up in this industry as an apprentice, you can earn money while you’re studying and avoid student loan issues.
Fact: Today, both men and women work as respected professionals on the same construction teams, and earn equal pay. You can find talented and well-trained women in this industry, and employers and coworkers appreciate their professional skills.
The construction industry is the largest employer in the world, and is projected to grow 70 percent by 2025. You’re welcome.
The construction industry employs approximately 200,000 people in Washington. Take that, Starbucks!
The wage for a Group 3 Laborer in Western Washington is $42.86 an hour, plus $12.85 an hour in healthcare and pension benefits. Nice work if you can get it. (Psst! You can get it.)
The wage for a first-year laborer apprentice in Western Washington is $25.72 an hour, plus $12.85 an hour in healthcare and pension benefits. Not too shabby, huh?
Washington is ranked the 6th best state for construction jobs in the United States, according to CONEXPO-CON/AGG.
Seattle’s Key Arena, officially renamed Climate Pledge Arena, has been redeveloped to utilize only renewable energy. It is the first Zero Carbon certified professional sports venue in the world.
The crown jewel of Amazon’s $4 billion Seattle Campus are the Spheres, a trio of conjoined glass domes complete with terraces, waterfall and river features, a treehouse conference area and roughly 40,000 plants.
Women make up 10.3% of the overall United States construction workforce.
A September 2020 workforce survey shows that one in five construction workers are over the age of 55 and for every one new worker entering the field, two are retiring. The opportunities in the construction industry are rich and plentiful.
90% of US general contractors worry about labor shortages.
Currently, there are approximately 6,000 women who are members of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
More than $398 million is currently slated for clean water projects in Washington state.
The construction sector employed nearly eight million people in the United States in early 2023.
The construction industry needs 240,000 craft professionals every year to keep up with project demands nationwide.
In 2021, there were over 197,421 registered apprentices in the construction occupations throughout the country.
Seattle ranks among the top 10 biotech clusters in the country.
The construction industry represents 4.1% of the total US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While it might not seem like much, it makes the United States one of the largest construction markets in the world.
Estimates indicate the U.S. population of construction machinery is approximately 3 million units, but only about one-third of the total fleet is in operation at any given time.
Bluebeam Revu for the iPad is the most widely used app in the construction industry.
Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were first developed in the 1950s, and have become the standard method for constructing tunnels in hard rock and compacted sediment.
The University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University offer construction management degrees.
Nationwide, there are over 375,000 apprentices currently obtaining the skills they need to succeed while earning wages they need to build financial security.
In Washington, the Construction Craft Laborer Apprenticeship program consists of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 480 hours of classroom training before being promoted to Journeyman.
Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were 21,710 apprentices in Washington state. This total would make registered apprenticeship programs the third largest “school” in the state behind the University of Washington and Washington State University.
Caterpillar is the world’s #1 heavy equipment manufacturer. Komatsu and Hitachi are #2 and #3.
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