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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #24-19
April 17, 2024
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Thurmond Hosts California Apprenticeship Summit to Connect California’s Youth to High-Wage Opportunities

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today hosted a California Apprenticeship Summit to raise awareness of apprenticeship opportunities and career technical education pathways that connect California’s youth to high-wage, high-growth career opportunities. The summit took place at the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California in Sacramento and featured a panel of industry experts, educators, and students.

“What makes registered apprenticeship unique as an educational opportunity is that it disrupts the myth that our young people need to choose between investing in their learning and earning right away. By becoming apprentices, students enter pathways that support their learning, provide mentorship, workplace protections, and a clear path to advancement that means a student’s first job out of high school can truly become their career,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “These job skills and technical knowledge—which can be obtained through apprenticeship programs—are the foundation for a strong economy and community in the years to come.”

Summit speakers included Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, California Labor Federation; Chris Hannan, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California; Yvonne de la Peña, Executive Director of the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee; Abby Snay, Deputy Secretary, Workforce Strategy, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency; Andrew Woodward, construction teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento; and two current students in Mr. Woodward’s Multi-Craft Core Curriculum Pre-Apprenticeship program, David Cristobal Peña and Jesse Araiza Luna.

The summit covered various aspects of apprenticeship programs and schools, including opportunities for youth, the advantages of hiring and employing youth apprentices, and how to increase youth apprenticeship programs and expand opportunities for paid on-the-job training for sixteen-to-eighteen-year-olds in both traditional and nontraditional sectors. According to research from the United States Department of Labor External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), 90 percent of apprentices who complete a registered apprenticeship program retain employment, with an average salary of $80,000, and a lifetime earnings advantage of $300,000.

Superintendent Thurmond has been a strong supporter of Trade Programs and Career Tech Education (CTE) programs from the beginning of his tenure as State Superintendent. The California Department of Education has a Building and Construction Trades (BCT) Industry Sector Program, which provides resources that equip students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies that prepare them for postsecondary education and/or career entry into various careers in the building and construction trades.

Increased apprenticeships and additional skilled trade workers also benefit public infrastructure in all areas, including education. Superintendent Thurmond helped secure the funding for the CA Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing and Efficiency Program (CalSHAPE) to upgrade heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems in public schools and replace noncompliant plumbing fixtures and appliances that failed water efficiency standards. As a Western Contra Costa Unified School District Trustee, Thurmond oversaw a billion-dollar school bond program that rebuilt nearly every school in that district, and he started a construction job-training, pre-apprenticeship program aligned with trades.

Thurmond also serves on the California Apprenticeship Council and is sponsoring AB 247 (Muratsuchi) External link opens in new window or tab., a 2024 Statewide School Facilities Bond. This bond measure, the Kindergarten-Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2024, would be placed on the 2024 statewide ballot. If approved, this bond measure would provide over $14 billion in state and local matching funds for K–12 and California Community College Districts throughout the state. The funds would go towards new school construction as well as modernization.

For more information about apprenticeship program opportunities, for both schools and students, email A recording of the summit can be viewed on the California Department of Education Facebook web page External link opens in new window or tab..

All other inquiries should be directed to

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 18, 2024
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