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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was some good info in another thread about joining the 134 apprenticeship (thanks guys), but I've got a few more questions about the helper program. Hopefully someone here is a current helper or knows someone who is.

- If you have to start with the contractor, what would be the best way to find one? I asked my dad if he knew any offhand but all he knows are the guys doing big industrial jobs so not much help there.

- What's the day-to-day work like? Already expect to spend a lot of time digging holes, carrying materials around, etc

- Would waiting the extra year to go into the apprenticeship hurt me in the long run? I don't mean getting into the program, I mean finding work as a JW

Any help here would be appreciated.
 

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RIP 1959-2015
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There was some good info in another thread about joining the 134 apprenticeship (thanks guys), but I've got a few more questions about the helper program. Hopefully someone here is a current helper or knows someone who is.

- If you have to start with the contractor, what would be the best way to find one? I asked my dad if he knew any offhand but all he knows are the guys doing big industrial jobs so not much help there.

- What's the day-to-day work like? Already expect to spend a lot of time digging holes, carrying materials around, etc

- Would waiting the extra year to go into the apprenticeship hurt me in the long run? I don't mean getting into the program, I mean finding work as a JW

Any help here would be appreciated.
If you can get a job right away take it, you can always get in the union later on.
 

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Junior Mints
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There was some good info in another thread about joining the 134 apprenticeship (thanks guys), but I've got a few more questions about the helper program. Hopefully someone here is a current helper or knows someone who is.

- If you have to start with the contractor, what would be the best way to find one? I asked my dad if he knew any offhand but all he knows are the guys doing big industrial jobs so not much help there.

- What's the day-to-day work like? Already expect to spend a lot of time digging holes, carrying materials around, etc

- Would waiting the extra year to go into the apprenticeship hurt me in the long run? I don't mean getting into the program, I mean finding work as a JW

Any help here would be appreciated.
First of all, you should have listened to me in the other thread and just edited your high school transcript so you had a B in Algebra, then you should have asked a homeless person to write you a letter of recommendation. You would be an apprentice now. Being a helper is probably the worst $12 an hour job imaginable. You duties are throwing away garbage and putting up with journeyman's harassment. You are not allowed to do ANYTHING electrical so you are going to gain almost nothing from the experience. You can't even lube or pull wire. You are going to be in charge of taking deliveries, sorting material, and you are a scapegoat that will be blamed for everything. $12 an hour might sound better than working at blockbuster video, BUT you are going to have to pay to park every day. You may think you will just ride the train to work, which is a fantastic idea. The only problem with that is that 90% of jobs start at 6am so the Metra might not be an option. Go on the big Chicago shops websites and email them, tell them you are interested in being a helper. They want helpers. http://lu134.org/contractors-v2/
Here is a link to Every contractor in 134, send 10 of them emails, you will get a response. You should try and be an apprentice as soon as you can if this is what you want to do. The helper program is a complete waste of time and is only in place so Chicago doesn't get a CE/CW classification. Oh yea ZERO benefits and ZERO overtime if you are a helper. Just try harder to get into the apprenticeship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
First of all, you should have listened to me in the other thread and just edited your high school transcript so you had a B in Algebra, then you should have asked a homeless person to write you a letter of recommendation. You would be an apprentice now. Being a helper is probably the worst $12 an hour job imaginable. You duties are throwing away garbage and putting up with journeyman's harassment. You are not allowed to do ANYTHING electrical so you are going to gain almost nothing from the experience. You can't even lube or pull wire. You are going to be in charge of taking deliveries, sorting material, and you are a scapegoat that will be blamed for everything. $12 an hour might sound better than working at blockbuster video, BUT you are going to have to pay to park every day. You may think you will just ride the train to work, which is a fantastic idea. The only problem with that is that 90% of jobs start at 6am so the Metra might not be an option. Go on the big Chicago shops websites and email them, tell them you are interested in being a helper. They want helpers. http://lu134.org/contractors-v2/
Here is a link to Every contractor in 134, send 10 of them emails, you will get a response. You should try and be an apprentice as soon as you can if this is what you want to do. The helper program is a complete waste of time and is only in place so Chicago doesn't get a CE/CW classification. Oh yea ZERO benefits and ZERO overtime if you are a helper. Just try harder to get into the apprenticeship.
I already showed up with bad (unopened) transcripts because I wasn't sure they would be good if they were unofficial (opened). Probably should have opened them before going but I'm not about to cry over spilled milk. As far as the duties go anything would be an improvement, I got hired to build vending cabinets and I've been stuck painting floors, sticking my hands in a septic tank, or getting sworn at.

EDIT: Let me ask something else, do you think I could learn more in HVAC? My options right now look like a) just wing it with the apprenticeship application this weds., b) go through the helper program, c) try working with some of the different HVAC shops hiring around the south suburbs, or d) live with the 11hr weeks and 1099 taxes until I can guarantee i can make it into the apprenticeship program
 

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Junior Mints
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Learn more what? More about HVAC from an HVAC contractor? Yes. More about electric work? Maybe. You will learn about HVAC in 134 apprentice school but you will never use it. 85-90% of our work in Local 134 is bending 1/2" and 3/4" EMT conduit. Subtract 5, subtract 6, multiply by 2, thats it! Now do that real fast, a few hundred feet a day and you have yourself a career! Ask yourself what you want to do with your life. If you can get with a good HVAC contractor awesome, go for it. Why don't you just try and get into the apprentice program, if it doesn't happen then do something els. There is no MAYBE with the apprenticeship program, you either meet the minimum requirements or you do not. It is so fair of a hiring system that they don't even do an interview because interviews could be bias.
 

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IF you don't know anyone, or have a ton of experience, then the helper program is the best way to get in as an apprentice. Thats how a lot of guys are doing it. You will do some BS work and probably some electrical.I thought helpers got first year wages? I also thought you had to be referred by a contractor?

PipeMonkey basically described exactly what apprentices do also. According to his logic, no one should join the union apprenticeship period. Its not that bad.
 

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I started out as a helper, years ago (as they say)..and yeah, you have to do all the running around, get this, get that, go here, dig here etc..but you WILL gain knowledge, running back and forth getting materials will help you learn what types of materials we electricians use, and what they are called, and why we use them.

Being harrassed, digging ditches, cleaning up the shop, getting breakfast etc, is all part of paying your dues. It is how we weed out the ones that are truly not interested in being an electrician.

Get in as a helper, pay your dues, and you will see it pay off in the long haul.
 

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Junior Mints
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IF you don't know anyone, or have a ton of experience, then the helper program is the best way to get in as an apprentice. Thats how a lot of guys are doing it. You will do some BS work and probably some electrical.I thought helpers got first year wages? I also thought you had to be referred by a contractor?

PipeMonkey basically described exactly what apprentices do also. According to his logic, no one should join the union apprenticeship period. Its not that bad.
I would never recommend construction to anyone. Terrible business.
 

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I would never recommend construction to anyone. Terrible business.
Well I would agree with you on that. The problem is, you have the media spreading false information that there is a "skilled trade shortage" and no unemployment among skilled trades, and employers can't find enough skilled trades, bla bla bla since I can remember. Thats part of why I got into it. Of course it was all lies. I don't know how they get away with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
IF you don't know anyone, or have a ton of experience, then the helper program is the best way to get in as an apprentice. Thats how a lot of guys are doing it. You will do some BS work and probably some electrical.I thought helpers got first year wages? I also thought you had to be referred by a contractor?

PipeMonkey basically described exactly what apprentices do also. According to his logic, no one should join the union apprenticeship period. Its not that bad.
I'll be a 4th gen 134 wireman, so knowing someone isn't an issue as much as not meeting the requirements right away. As far as experience at my current job I'm the dreaded maintenance man (boss is a retired EE so I've got some supervision on electrical tasks, and I know when to say "call an electrician"). I know I can make up a decent algebra grade but I just don't like the risk involved. Before I go for the helper program I'm trying to find a smaller contractor where I might be able to spend more time working with an electrician.
 
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