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Center for Labor Research and Education

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Training for the Future

Carol Zabin
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This report describes the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Utility Pre-Craft Trainee (UPCT) program and highlights the features of the program that make it a best practice model for entry-level workforce training in the green economy. While many green training programs around the country have been criticized for providing only short-term training with poor job placement rates, the UPCT provides entry-level workers with pathways into real careers.

The UPCT program was developed by the LADWP and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 18. UPCT is an earn-while-you-learn, pre-apprenticeship in which trainees work full time weatherizing the homes of low-income utility customers while also learning other skills and preparing for the civil service exams and career opportunities in the utility. The program includes a wage standard of $16 per hour plus benefits, considerably more than most workers earn doing residential weatherization through other programs. The UPCT program has received strong support from RePower LA, a broad coalition of environmentalists, low-income advocates, and labor, which sees this program as a central element of its ongoing campaign to both reduce the city’s carbon footprint and create good jobs for local workers.