The Trades Orientation Program (TOP) is recruiting now for its free 2018-19 class.

What is TOP?

It's Silicon Valley’s premier construction trades pre-apprenticeship course. TOP helps give a foot in the door to local youth, veterans, jobseekers, and anyone looking for a high-paying, hands-on career – especially for people who may not have thought there was a place for them in the construction industry.

TOP graduate Louis is a single father raising his son in South San Jose. Louis had been working in construction for over 20 years, but when the Great Recession hit, he was laid off and struggled to make ends meet. He decided to apply to the Trades Orientation Program to help him get back into construction.

Even with his construction experience, the coursework had some surprises for Louis. He loved “getting his hands dirty”, but he didn’t expect that the class would include workplace communications, conflict resolution, and team-building exercises. Using those skills, he successfully applied to become an apprentice Carpenter, starting at over $25 per hour and receiving on-the job training to move up the ladder.

Before TOP, Louis says, “I took jobs I had to in order to make ends meet… just moving from site to site, without any opportunity to gain skills for a higher position.” He is thrilled to now have the opportunity to achieve his goals.

Who are we looking for?

Santa Clara County residents age 18 and up who are seeking full-time work or a career change, like working with their hands, are willing to study and learn, and have a strong interest in learning how to enter an "earn-while-you-learn" construction apprenticeship leading to a rewarding career.

No prior construction experience is needed – just a high school diploma or GED, driver’s license, basic math skills and ability to do physical work. There is no cost to participate.

Women, under-represented minorities, youth (age 18 and up), and U.S. military veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. Special priority may be available for applicants who are homeless, receiving housing services, or CalFRESH recipients.

TOP graduate Lisa says: "I was shocked by how fast things started moving, I became a Cement Mason apprentice, got assigned to a job site, bought a car, and then went to work on the Apple site … If I hadn’t found the Trades Orientation Program my life would be so different. Now my life has structure, and I have something that is mine forever, as long as I want it."


The Trades Orientation Program is supported in part by the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing, the CalFRESH Employment & Training Program, the California Apprenticeship Initiative, Pacific Gas & Electric, and by Prop. 39 pre-apprenticeship funding from the California Workforce Development Board.

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