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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys I'm new to this site. I am 19 years old and live in the south Chicago suburbs. I am going this weekend to apply to be an apprentice. I have chosen this over becoming a fire fighter but i just have a few questions hopefully someone doesn't mind answering.
1: Will there be work by the time I'm done being an apprentice?
2: What is the average pay for a journeyman in the chicagoland area? And is it easy to increase my pay?
3: Is the apprenticeship for the most part easy? Or will there be any hard tasks or classes I might run into or has anyone had any problems?

Thanks in advance hopefully I don't sound like an idiot typing this but i am curious and thanks to all that can help me!
 

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Mike, I've just gone through the application process with a different JATC but can tell you this... Be prepared for the exam and the interview first. Understand that while as an apprentice, work is there but not guaranteed. Where I live? I was damn lucky in that I went through the process fairly quickly and start with my first contractor this week. I have heard from many that the first year is the toughest year but well worth it.
 

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Junior Mints
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1. I had this same thought in 2008, things will improve in 5 years. They have not. Local 134 has 1,800 journeymen out of work. 3 year wait.
2. Local 134 Journeyman pay is $43.00 an hour. Keep in mind that 43x0=0
3. Local 134 apprenticeship school is OVERLY DIFFICULT.
 

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I'm in the same boat right now, I'm going tomorrow morning to apply for the 134 apprenticeship. I'd be a 4th generation 134 wireman if I got accepted.

Some observations I've made about LU134:
- Pay is like 43 and some change. As far as I know a GF makes 45 or 46, but some guys get paid up to $50/hr. This depends on the contractor and your willingness to work hard and get the job done.

- I already know the work situation is bad news for JWs (as stated above), but there's still big jobs out there, lots of industrial stuff and hopefully a need for apprentices.

- I believe theres some kind of helper/trainee program open now, does anyone know anything about that? In theory I think it's to prevent apprentices from doing stuff like unloading vans and digging holes


Anyway glad to see someone else is trying to get into the same local, and hopefully we're both working soon enough.
 

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Junior Mints
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I am a Local 134 Journeyman. It's the best and highest paying part time job I have ever had. I am currently "sitting" which means my contractor has work coming up in a few weeks and I don't want to sign a 3 year waiting list. The helper program pays $12 an hour no benefits whatsoever, the program is to prevent a CE/CW program from being implemented into our local. CE/CE's do the same thing Journeyman do, they just make 10 dollars less an hour. CE/CW's would help contractors bid more aggressively and put members back to work, but the members don't want it. They are happy with 1800 people on the bench and hundreds more sitting. Contractors rarely pay over journeyman wage, if you are in a foreman position you most likely will make JW wage and like it or there are plenty of people waiting to take your place. If there are big jobs out there then most likely the big shops will get them. REX or Shamrock, but when these big jobs start the books don't move at all because the big shops keep their people sitting and man the jobs from their own pool of workers. Maybe things will get better, I wish they would this is a really great job and pays great, but you can't get a mortgage if your on unemployment every 4 months. I am currently seeking full time employment in maintenance.
 

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Junior Mints
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Oh I forgot the most important thing to bring when you apply to 134 is a letter of recommendation which has to be from someone who is not an electrician or a 134 member. You will not get in any time soon with out a letter of recommendation. It could be from your manager at burger king, but with out it you will be ranked very low no matter how well you do on the test.
 

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I am a Local 134 Journeyman. It's the best and highest paying part time job I have ever had. I am currently "sitting" which means my contractor has work coming up in a few weeks and I don't want to sign a 3 year waiting list. The helper program pays $12 an hour no benefits whatsoever, the program is to prevent a CE/CW program from being implemented into our local. CE/CE's do the same thing Journeyman do, they just make 10 dollars less an hour. CE/CW's would help contractors bid more aggressively and put members back to work, but the members don't want it. They are happy with 1800 people on the bench and hundreds more sitting. Contractors rarely pay over journeyman wage, if you are in a foreman position you most likely will make JW wage and like it or there are plenty of people waiting to take your place. If there are big jobs out there then most likely the big shops will get them. REX or Shamrock, but when these big jobs start the books don't move at all because the big shops keep their people sitting and man the jobs from their own pool of workers. Maybe things will get better, I wish they would this is a really great job and pays great, but you can't get a mortgage if your on unemployment every 4 months. I am currently seeking full time employment in maintenance.
Thanks for the info on the helpers. I've heard that doing it beforehand makes it easier to get into the apprenticeship, is that true? I know about the CE/CWs and that's not a route I'd like to take.
 

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The apprentice school claims that all the helpers have become apprentices and that the program is really stretching out the apprenticeship to 6 years. It is good because you will get a real local 134 experience. Using 2 hours pay every day to park in down town Chicago would probably get old fast. I would recommend the program because you can preview the job and the people you might work with some day. You need to know someone at a contractor who is hiring helpers, you can't apply at the school to be a helper. Being a helper will help you become an apprentice, but it's not necessary.
 

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It's not a complete waste. After your 3rd year you are 3 classes away from an AAS in Electrical Construction Technology. I got the degree and I'm glad I did because 99% of the maintenance jobs I am applying for right now require an associates. You can transfer that degree to the Illinois institute of Technology and earn a Bachelors in Industrial Technology and management. Its 21 college classes, which sounds feasible, but each class at IIT costs $3,000. The Local will pay half your tuition which is nice, but still 30 grand. The AAS degree only transfers to IIT I tried to transfer to NIU, SIU, and Aurora university but they don't accept any of the credits. IIT is a top school not to be confused with the career college ITT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's not a complete waste. After your 3rd year you are 3 classes away from an AAS in Electrical Construction Technology. I got the degree and I'm glad I did because 99% of the maintenance jobs I am applying for right now require an associates. You can transfer that degree to the Illinois institute of Technology and earn a Bachelors in Industrial Technology and management. Its 21 college classes, which sounds feasible, but each class at IIT costs $3,000. The Local will pay half your tuition which is nice, but still 30 grand. The AAS degree only transfers to IIT I tried to transfer to NIU, SIU, and Aurora university but they don't accept any of the credits. IIT is a top school not to be confused with the career college ITT.
Would i find a job easier if i went this path?
 

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If you had an associates degree? I hope so, I eventually want a full time job. If you had a Bachelor Degree from Illinois Institute of Technology? Yes you would absolutely be able to find an excellent job. Only 20 people in Local 134 have gotten the degree from IIT, there are 10,000+ members in Local 134.
 

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Junior Mints
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Wait...do you mean would you find a job as a journeyman electrician in local 134 if you had a degree? Then no, degrees don't mean squat if your a worker bee. All that matters these days is production and attitude. Your best bet is to make a lot of friends in apprentice school whose dads are contractors. Find out who is a contractors son and do anything to become BFF's.
 

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I would wear decent work clothes. Jeans with NO rips, a belt, tucked in collard shirt, and regular shoes, don't run out and buy boots. Don't do anything that will draw attention to yourself in a negative way. You are signing up so they just want your money. Its a good idea to always wear work style clothes in good condition to the school.
 
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