Custodial to Office Administration Apprenticeship Program Now Live and Recruiting
SEIU Local 1000 is proud to announce that the first application period for the Custodial to Office Administration Apprenticeship Program has begun. This program, a partnership between SEIU Local 1000 and the Department of General Services (DGS), has been in development since 2018. We are now recruiting for the first cohort of apprentices, with classes and training planned to begin in August 2023
Thanks to this program, custodians working at DGS will be able to join this apprenticeship, receiving opportunities and guidance to pursue new careers without having to choose between retaining their current positions and their futures.
“DGS wants to uplift their employees and promote upward mobility,” said member leader Nicole Crist, who sits on the Joint Apprenticeship Committee. “Given that Unit 15 is one of the lowest paid classifications, Local 1000 and DGS collaborated to recognize this disparity and encourage the development these opportunities.”
Through partnership with Bakersfield College, this apprenticeship provides the educational support, related supplemental instruction, and college coursework needed for these employees to fill these roles. These classes are entirely online, so members from across the state, especially those not living near Bakersfield, can take advantage of these opportunities.
“Custodians work at night, which we kept in mind when designing this apprenticeship.” said Crist. “To provide flexibility, the program will allow scheduling around their work to provide time to go to school and receive on-the-job training. The program is designed for the success of the employee.”
The Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) of eleven union and management representatives ensures the program is developed in a way that helps employees and provides assistance to employees in the program. In addition to the resources of the college, these workers will have direct access to management with years of experience, including the deputy directors on the JAC, to learn and receive guidance from.
“Our union wants to make sure this is about the employees needs and issues in their workplaces,” said Crist. “Mentorship and guidance are key so that workers can take advantage of these programs from start to finish, from the application process to their graduation.”
We hosted two information sessions this week and had a good turnout. We anticipate a number of applications immediately.
“We don’t want to see people feeling stuck in their jobs in state service,” said Crist. “DGS has recognized that custodian classifications don’t have upward mobility, so by developing this pathway with them, we can ensure that custodians are valued as current and future employees.”
With the apprenticeship’s application period open, the JAC’s work continues to help support workers looking for better jobs and more opportunities in their careers.
“I feel honored to be a part of this committee and I look forward to the first graduating class of this apprenticeship,” said Crist. “It’s going to empower a workforce that may not have seen college as an opportunity due to the cost. The program is free, and that makes a huge difference.”