Job Corps Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who Qualifies For Job Corps?

A: The program is designed to assist disadvantaged youth ages 16 – 24, however prior military service, having dropped out of high school, having been in foster care, and many other economic issues are all contributing factors in eligibility. Most unemployed persons within the age range who apply are deemed eligible one way or another. The ONLY way to determine if you qualify is to speak directly with an admissions counselor at 800-733-JOBS.

Q: What Is “Pre” Apprenticeship?

A: “Pre” apprenticeship programs are designed to introduce the basics of a trade to someone with little or no experience in that specific industry. The program covers basic tools, materials, work ethic, and the “tricks of the trade.” Pre-apprenticeship experience is helpful to someone desiring to apply to a registered apprenticeship program.

Q: How Long Is The Training?

A: As long as it takes. Job Corps is a self-paced program, but the average length of training for plastering and cement mason trainees is 8 months.

Q: Where Is Job Corps Located?

A: There are 122 Job Corps Centers spread all across the United States. The facility you would attend depends upon your location, your vocational interests, and available bed space on the Job Corps campus. Not all Job Corps Centers offer every trade, and sometimes the Center closest to you may be full and have a waiting list. To see a complete list of locations click HERE.

Q: Do I Have To Live on Campus?

A: That depends. If you live close enough to the Job Corps Center you are accepted too, the answer is no – you may attend classes as a “non-resident” trainee. However 90% of Job Corps Trainees do live on the campus in college style dormitories.

Q: Is Job Corps a Safe Place?

A: Yes, well as safe or safer than any community can be. Job Corps strictly enforces a zero-tolerance for drug use, alcohol use, and violence. Offending trainees are placed on a bus and sent home.

Q: Do I Have to Become a Plasterer or a Cement Mason?

A: No, but we hope you will want to after seeing the great career opportunities the OPCMIA and its affiliated employers offer. Job Corps offers many different vocational careers, everything from the construction trades, to automotive repair, to culinary arts and many different business and health occupation courses. During your first 30 days in Job Corps you will have the opportunity to try out many different occupations, speak with career counselors, and ultimately make the best career choice that fits you.

Q: Am I Guaranteed an Apprenticeship When I Complete Job Corps?

A: Nothing in life is “guaranteed.” But the famous scientist Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Job Corps graduates have obtained both industry designed training and hands on trade experience, they are issued and taught to use the proper tools and safety equipment required of the job, and they are assigned an industry mentor who will assist them throughout training and through the requirements to become a registered apprentice.

Q: What Is Required of a Trainee Once Enrolled?

A: A willingness to challenge yourself in order to improve your career options, the ability to maintain a positive attitude, a desire to learn, and most importantly - effort.

Q: Are Jobs Immediately Available?

A: The plastering and concrete industries are experiencing a labor shortage nationwide and are generally considered “high-demand” occupations. While the economic conditions of a given area can impact the timing of job opportunities, overall the construction industry is in need, and is seeking, entry-level employees who are prepared for the realities of the industry.

Q: Are Immigrants Eligible to Participate in Job Corps?

A: Citizens and properly documented immigrants who otherwise qualify are eligible.

Q: What Industry Certifications Do Job Corps Graduates Receive?

A: Graduates of the Plastering or Cement Mason Job Corps Programs receive a Certificate of Completion from the OPCMIA, an OSHA 10 hour “Smart-Mark” Card, and an SIA “Scaffold Users” Card.

Q: I Dropped Out of High School, How Would That Affect My Job Corps Experience?

A: You will be enrolled in an academic program while enrolled in Job Corps. Typically you will spend one week in academics and the next week in your trade until you complete your academic requirement. 50% of Job Corps Graduates obtain their high school diploma or GED certificate while attending Job Corps.

Q: I Don’t Have a Drivers License.

A: You would not be alone; most Job Corps trainees do not have a drivers license when they enroll. A drivers education program is offered on all Job Corps Centers; however obtaining a drivers license while enrolled in Job Corps is subject to the age rules established by the State where you are enrolled.

Q: How Do I Enroll?

A: Call a Job Corps admissions counselor at 800-733-JOBS.

Q: Where Can I Get More Information?

A: Call an admissions counselor at 800-733-JOBS, visit the JOB CORPS web site, or call one of our OPCMIA Job Corps Staff Members for assistance.

Q: How Can I Contact OPCMIA Job Corps Management?


National Office:

National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund
11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 100
Beltsville, MD 20705

301-572-2600 - Office

301-572-2611 - Fax

Executive Director:

William E. Rogers

202-320-9131 - Mobile

Deputy Director:

Scott Ruane MA, VT, NH, ME

202-285-6939 - Mobile

Regional Coordinators:

Al Torres
Jim Lee
Barney Smith
Fred Booth
David Neal
Gene Neville
Pat Mace
Wimlish Owens

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