Interested in a construction career, but don’t know how to get started? The Technical Opportunities Program can help you learn about the industry, practice your hands on skills, and compete for apprenticeship program openings.
Is a construction career right for me?
If you are mechanically inclined and enjoy working with your hands and being physically active, a career in the construction trades might be a good choice for you. To help you decide, take a look at our participant’s guide or view our career education video.
Program Schedule and Curriculum
Over the course of twelve weeks, the Technical Opportunities Program (TOP) meets two evenings per week from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The basic curriculum includes:
- Math (fractions, decimals, ratios and percentages, area and perimeter, square roots, exponents, feet and inches and basic algebra)
- Test preparation (spatial relations, mechanical reasoning, and numerical reasoning)
- Physical conditioning (stretching, stamina, balance, aerobic, and weight-lifting exercises)
- Basic construction skills (safety, tool recognition and use, measuring, and blueprint reading
- Job readiness (goal setting, interviewing, resume preparation, budgeting, sexual harassment prevention, etc.).
- Hands-on experience: In addition to basic construction skills, students have the opportunity to apply these skills through hands on learning experiences in carpentry, electrical work, sheet metal working, plumbing and pipefitting, bricklaying and more. This curriculum includes hands-on field trips to apprenticeship programs and instruction provided by experienced tradeswomen.
- High School Diploma or GED
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate or other proof of eligibility to work in the United States
- Physically fit
- Able to demonstrate basic math and reading skills on an aptitude test
- Able to pass a drug test
How do I get started?
The first step to applying for the Technical Opportunities Program is to attend an information session. Information sessions are held every Wednesday.
- First and third Wednesdays of the month at 10:30 am
- Second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 5:30 pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I guaranteed entrance into an apprenticeship program or job?
No, TOP does not have direct entry agreements with apprenticeship programs, but TOP graduates will learn everything they need to know to be competitive applicants and an average of 70% of program graduates are successful in entering apprenticeship.
What apprenticeship programs does TOP prepare me for?
TOP provides general preparation that applies to most area apprenticeship programs. Program graduates have gone on to become successful electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, laborers, iron workers, cement finishers, painters, drywall finishers and more.
How much does the training cost?
This training is available free of charge to participants, but it is not free to provide, so we are looking for applicants whose commitment to this career path is deserving of the investment made by our funders.
How long will it take for me to get into an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship programs may only be open for applications at specific times during the year and many lists last up to two years, so the answer is it depends on what you’re interested in and the timing of their application periods. This is a career oriented program and, while some participants do enter apprenticeship quickly , this program is not intended to meet an urgent need for immediate employment.
For more information about apprenticeship programs and construction careers, please see our career education guide or attend an information session at CWIT.