Apprenticeship Preparation Program

After losing his job in aerospace during the recession, Garrett Hall resorted to selling drugs to support his family. He did three years in county jail and says “I didn’t have much of a plan when I got out.” Jail left him aimless and pessimistic about finding a career. “They don’t teach you anything in jail to better yourself or give you any skills that help you when you get out,” Garret says. “They basically just want you back.”

Immediately after his release, Garrett enrolled in our Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP), and finally had something to look forward to — a job in a union. Unions don’t discriminate based on criminal records, and they pay a livable wage that could support Garrett’s family. Garrett dedicated himself to doing the best he could in the class. Out of other options, he says, “I wasn’t gonna take no for an answer.”

The Apprenticeship Preparation Program gave Garrett a second chance. Thanks to the program, he was able to make connections with unions and learn what makes someone an excellent candidate for an apprenticeship. He says the program “gets your foot in the door to a lot of places. They give you that chance.” Garrett also loved that the program was free for students: “They pay for your books, safety equipment, and take you to unions. That helps a lot of people out.” Garrett concludes, “It’s the best program I’ve ever taken. There should be a lot more programs like this.”

On the same day he graduated from the APP in 2014, Garret got accepted as an apprentice in the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, Local 398, and has been working full time since. He’s proud of the work he does, and says “It feels good to complete a job and know that your work is appreciated.” He also has benefits for his family and a pension, which has relieved a lot of worry for him.

But the best thing that came out of Garrett’s journey was a renewed relationship with his father. He says. “My dad wasn’t really proud of me before and he didn’t want me back after I got out of jail. But me working and getting in the union gave him something to be proud of. It made me really happy to be able to put a smile on his face before he passed away. And I have Flintridge to thank for that.”

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