Are you interested in a union job? There are many benefits to joining a labor union, including higher salaries, a pension and better health insurance benefits than those provided by many non-union employers. According the AFL-CIO:

  • Union members earn 26 percent more than their nonunion counterparts.
  • More than 75 percent of union workers have health benefits. Less than half of nonunion workers have health coverage.
  • Nearly 70 percent of union workers have a pension. Only 14 percent of nonunion workers have one.
  • The 10 states where unions are strongest have higher earnings, better health coverage, less crime, more civic participation, less poverty and better schools than the 10 states where union membership is lowest.

The Pennsylvania Apprentice Coordinators Association was developed to provide a medium for the exchange of ideas and the methods and information relative to apprenticeship in the state of Pennsylvania. PACA exists to collectively assist in improving its members registered programs and the skills of their instructional staff. PACA exists to inform and promote apprenticeship; especially in the unionized building trades. Lastly, PACA exists to inform its members of the latest laws, regulations and pending legislation that affect Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Training in the State of Pennsylvania as well as North America.

The members of the Pennsylvania Apprentice Coordinators Association (PACA) have provided the information found on this web site to help you decide if you have the aptitude and ability to train for a career in the construction industry.

The Joint Apprentice Training Facilities (JATF) exists to serve a number of purposes:

  • To supply all contractors with highly skilled workers including apprentices, journeypersons, supervisors, project managers, etc.
  • To facilitate a unique learning environment with varying instructional objectives and technologies.
  • To provide activities and resources that fosters a positive, comprehensive training environment.
  • To provide career advancement through a combination of classroom instruction as well as shop and field experiences.
  • To provide continuing education and training in the form of Journeyperson Upgrade classes.

Apprentice development and progression is achieved by partaking in classes such as Health and Safety, Blueprint Reading, Mathematics, and Leadership and Foreperson Training.

It is a combination of on the job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.

Apprenticeship programs are operated on a voluntary basis by employers, employer associations, or management and labor groups (unions). The Federal and State Governments are also involved in that they promote the establishment of apprentice programs and in that they provide technical assistance to program sponsors. The related classroom instruction is usually given in the program sponsor’s training facility. Most trades require four to five years to complete a program.

The trades represented by the JATC have different requirements and programs that must be completed. Most include classroom instruction, computer skills and on the job training.


The pay scale for apprentices is somewhat less than that of “Journeymen” (i.e., workers who have completed the program), and may start at about 35% to 50% of the Journeyman rate. Apprentices receive pay increases as they advance through the program. Such increases may occur every six months or every year. Additionally, there are fringe benefits, such as vacation, health & welfare plans, pension plans, and other benefits.

Specific information about the participating PACA members trades can be found on the chapter pages. Such as; what qualifications they require, description of the job and how to apply for apprenticeship. You will also find links to local union web sites, other union links on the internet, and how to contact us if you need more information.

Are you interested in joining one of the exciting apprenticeship programs in your area and starting a career in the Building Trades?



Brick Layers

Bricklayers construct and repair walls, partitions, arches, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures from building materials such as brick, structural tile, concrete cinders, glass, gypsum, and terra cotta. They may work on commercial or industrial buildings, apartments or homes.


Boilermakers make, assemble and repair different kinds of boilers, steel pressure vessels, vats, and tanks according to blueprints. Their work involves aligning sections of plates to assemble boiler frames, tanks and vats, cutting tubes from metal, drilling holes, and bolting, riveting, or arc welding the sections or structures together. They are also responsible for preparing sheet metal for welding, stress relieving, and heat duration, and for testing the finished vessels by pumping water or gas through them under specified pressures and observing instruments to detect leakage.


Carpenters perform work on commercial buildings, houses, bridges, and road overpasses. They perform work which is basic to most building construction. They construct, erect, install and repair structures and fixtures of wood, metal, plywood and wallboard. They erect framework in buildings, including joist and decking, partitions, stairs and rafters. Carpenters also install wood paneling, windows, door frames, doors and hardware, cabinets, and various types of trim and moldings. Carpenters also build the form work for the placing of concrete. This includes flat work, columns, beams, decks, stairs, bridge abutments, and overpasses.

Elevator Constructor

Elevator Constructor Journeymen and Apprentices install, modernize, maintain, repair, and service elevators, escalators, dumbwaiters, moving sidewalks and airport people movers.


Glaziers fabricate and install Architectural metal used in storefronts, mid and high-rise buildings, which includes anchoring by welding and sealant application of metal systems supplied by many metal manufacturers. Glaziers cut, fabricate and install all types of glass and plastic products. Glaziers load and unload, by hand as well as with cranes and other devices, vehicles used for delivery of trade related equipment.

Heat & Frost Insulators

The work of the Insulator and Asbestos Worker today covers industrial, commercial and cryogenics. Industrial applies to all types of industries, such as chemical process, petrochemical, metal and other process industries, liquid organic heating systems, steam condensing cycles, high temperature hot water systems, etc. The commercial field includes buildings, building services and refrigerated spaces. Cryogenics is the field of low temperature service, such as required by the liquified gases, generally below minus 100 F. Insulators may also be certified for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved asbestos abatement program. Certified Insulators remove asbestos from schools, hospitals, power plants, chemical and industrial facilities.

Iron Workers

Iron Workers fabricate, erect and assemble the fabricated and structural steel framework structural metal products in industrial, commercial or large residential buildings, bridges, towers and other structures. Iron workers also erect precast concrete structures, metal stairways, fences, pre-engineered buildings and miscellaneous iron.


Laborers are involved with most phases of the construction industry.  They work with scaffolding, soil compaction, transit and level, trenching & shoring, traffic control, air tool operation and many other assigned tasks.  Their physical skills and common sense are extremely valuable to the contractor in running a smooth building operation.  Construction craft laborers receive on-the-job training and classroom courses from experienced instructors in construction language, care and safe use of tools of the trade, O.S.H.A. and First Aid/CPR.

Operating Engineers

Operating Engineers are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of heavy construction equipment such as cranes, backhoes, loaders, scrapers, bulldozers, rollers, etc. used in the construction of buildings, factories, roads, dams, power plants and bridges.


Painters, Industrial Painters and Wall-Coverers first priority is to prepare surfaces for the finishes to be applied. Some of the processes that are used are: wash, scrape, wire brush or sand the surface and, in some cases, use chemicals, electric scrapers, sandblasters or blow torches to remove old paint. It is the job of the applicator to sand any irregularities, fill cracks and holes, and remove excess dirt and grease. The Painter uses three major tools to apply paints and coatings: The spray gun, the roller, and the brush. The skilled Painter knows and uses what is best for each job. Job Description:

Cement Masons and Plasterers

Cement Masons and Plasterers apply and smooth wet plaster to interior walls and ceilings to form fire resistant and relatively soundproof surfaces which may then be decorated. They also apply stucco and synthetic stucco finishes to exterior of buildings and cast ornamental designs in plaster.


Plumbing involves installation and repair of a wide variety of piping systems and equipment. The majority of plumbing work is in the commercial segment of building construction. From layout (or design) preparation to the final installation of fixtures and equipment a PLUMBER practices daily all the mental and physical skills acquired through a structured learning process during the five year apprenticeship period. The layout and installation of piping materials, plumbing fixtures and mechanical equipment are learned on the job. Blueprint reading, drawing, trade math, related systems, theory and selected manipulative skills are taught in the related school program. The apprentice works under the direct guidance and supervision of a licensed plumber.


Roofers install and remove roofs on buildings and other structures to make them waterproof and weatherproof.  They may also waterproof or damp-proof walls and other building surfaces. Roofers may also use materials such as: composition shingles, tile, slate, EPDM (ethylene, propylene, diene, terpolymer) membrane.


The Sprinkler Fitter are Pipe Fitter specialists in Fire Protection. They install, test, inspect and certify Fire Suppression systems of all types. A Fire Suppression system can be designed, fabricated, and installed for virtually any and all types of structures.

Steamfitter’s / Pipe Fitters

Installs and maintains pipes to carry water, steam, compressed air, gas, and fluids needed for processing, manufacturing, heating and cooling. They work on high and low pressure pipes, power stations, refrigeration or air-conditioning units, heating systems and services steam and hot water heating systems; air-conditioning and refrigeration systems; nuclear and fossil fuel power plants; industrial and commercial instrument systems; cross country pipe lines; chemical and petrochemical plants; complete environmental systems in hospitals, schools, churches, high-rise office and apartment buildings; water and sewage treatment plants, food processing plants; pharmaceutical manufacturing plants; and most other installations requiring piping.

Only candidates can apply for this job.
Share this job