Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program

Interested in a construction career, but don’t know how to get started? The Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program can help you learn about the industry, practice your hands-on skills, and compete for apprenticeship program openings.

Through six weeks of Career Readiness and Occupational Skills Training, with classroom and hands-on learning experiences, Building Pathways will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to enter and succeed in a registered union apprenticeship program. You will also receive coordinated case management and placement services to help you achieve their career goals. Once placed in a quality apprenticeship program, you will gain on-the-job training, while earning good wages and benefits, and receive continued support services from us.

Why does our pre-apprenticeship training work?

  • It’s a path to real construction jobs.
  • We’re training individuals who will become the best apprentices, and in turn, the best trades people the unionized construction industry has to offer.
  • We’re providing an opportunity for long-term, skilled careers.
  • Our program is recognized as the only union-based apprenticeship preparedness program in Boston.
  • Our pre-apprenticeship training has been nationally recognized as one of the best in the United States.

Applications are now being accepted for our next Building Pathways training cycle which begins on October 30, 2017. To learn more, attend an Information Session. Click here for schedule.

Program Overview and Eligibility Requirements

Building Pathways offers three 6-week training sessions in each year in the fall, winter, and spring. The program meets Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, just like a typical construction work day. The basic curriculum includes:

  • Overview of the Construction Industry
  • Basic Construction Math
  • Basic construction skills (safety, tool recognition and use, measuring, and blueprint reading)
  • Job readiness (goal setting, interviewing, budgeting, sexual harassment prevention, etc.).
  • Labor history
  • Hands-on experience: In addition to basic
    construction skills, participants have the opportunity to apply these skills through hands-on field trips to union apprenticeship programs. We also offer field trips to active construction sites.

To be eligible to apply to Building Pathways, you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A resident of Suffolk, Norfolk or Middlesex counties
  • A high school graduate or hold an equivalent certification
  • A licensed driver
  • Eligible to work in the United States
  • Physically fit
  • Able to demonstrate basic math and reading skills on an aptitude test
  • Proficient in English
  • Able to pass a drug test

Women and people of color are encouraged to apply. Building Pathways has a goal of 50% enrollment of women in our classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

The first step to applying for Building Pathways is to attend an information session. Information sessions are held regularly throughout the year. See our Events calendar for a schedule.

Am I guaranteed entrance into an apprenticeship program or job?

Building Pathways works with each graduate to secure admission into a building trades apprenticeship program. While we do not guarantee entry into an apprenticeship program or job, Building Pathways graduates will learn everything they need to know to be competitive applicants.

What apprenticeship programs does Building Pathways prepare me for?

Building Pathways 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, electricians, elevator constructors, laborers, iron workers, cement masons, 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.

Will I receive any other services through Building Pathways?

Case management services are provided as needed for each participant beginning at the start of the program and through successful placement. Case management may include counseling and/or referral and follow-up for issues such as childcare, transportation, housing, healthcare, financial services, and legal services.

Why is Building Pathways a good choice for women?

While Building Pathways is a co-educational pre-apprenticeship training program, we are actively seeking women applicants. Women can do this work. In India about 40% of all construction workers are women. In the U.S., some trades have gotten as high as 25% women. And yet no one tells women that these high-skill, high-pay jobs are an option. Find out more >>

For more information about the Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program, please see our program brochure or attend an Information Session. For more information about union apprenticeship, visit our Careers in Construction page.

Success Stories


Meet Shamaiah Turner, a 2012 Building Pathways graduate who will finish her 5-year apprenticeship in the Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 training program in May 2017. Shamaiah’s success in launching her career in the building trades was featured in two recent Boston Globe articles. Shamaiah is not only a success in the field, but has also been active in her union and in the Greater Boston Labor Council’s Futures Committee which works to empower young workers in their unions and across the region.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2016/04/21/these-people-had-smarts-launch-careers-booming-fields/eS0agm4QahwVH1z9ToAe1L/story.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2016/10/25/why-women-are-finally-starting-get-construction-jobs-mass/Am9I0ALvwaxB5N3vY1wdZK/story.html

Policy and Advocacy

We join in partnership with allies from across the country and in our state, to support local, state and federal policies, and industry practices, that promote greater diversity and inclusivity in the construction workforce. Find out more.

Through our participation with the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues in Massachusetts and the National Task Force on Tradeswomen Issues, we work to provide access for women to careers in construction and ensure that funding remains available to provide technical assistance to employers, registered apprenticeship sponsors, and workforce development professionals to recruit, retain, and help women succeed in these careers.

We push for enforcement of equal opportunity employment laws and workforce compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Federal Highway Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal, state, and local government agencies.

We actively participate in Access and Opportunity Committees charged with monitoring compliance with workforce participation goals on publicly-funded construction projects and work with employers, unions, and community groups to reform industry practices that have historically created barriers to entry into the construction industry by women and people of color.