Advice for Youth

Young people often ask PNCI staff what they should do now in order to be an excellent candidate for apprenticeship. We’ve thought about that and started making a list of ideas for you.


Practice waking up early. Become a “morning person.” Construction jobs often start at 7 am, sometimes earlier.

Make being on time to school, appointments and work a point of pride. Carpenters like to joke that if they’re not early they are late.

Obtain your Driver’s License and keep a clean driving record.

Make positive choices that ensure you will be able to pass your mandatory, pre-employment drug test. 

Get fit. Carpenters and their Apprentices are industrial athletes. Improving your flexibility, stamina and strength will benefit you. 

Take math and high school electives like shop, construction or even technical theater where you could build sets and props for your school’s plays.

Does your construction tech or wood shop teacher use the Career Connections project books from the Carpenters International Training Fund? If yes, work hard to earn Certificates of Completion which will offer you an advantage in the competitive application process to become an Apprentice.

If your school doesn’t have shop classes, see what you can find at your local community college or community center. In Portland, the Rebuilding Center offers low cost classes which introduce you to power tools and basic carpentry skills.

Working after school or during the summer in any type of job can help you demonstrate that you have the personal qualities valued in an apprenticeship, including stick-to-itiveness, teamwork, communication and problem-solving.

Teach yourself to read your tape measure quickly and accurately. Watch this Tape Measure – Pro Tips video. Play the Ruler Game.

Volunteer to gain experience and increase your skills. Find the Habitat for Humanity chapter in your community. Rebuilding Together, with chapters in Roseburg, Central Point and Washington County values volunteers who help with home remodel projects for needy neighbors. In Portland, volunteers with the Community Energy Project are trained to do weatherization projects in the homes of senior citizens. 

Inform yourself about apprenticeships by taking the free Skilled Trades: Construction Apprenticeship Foundations course on LinkedIn Learning.

 High School Juniors enrolled in construction-related CTE programs can apply for PNCI’s Summer Construction Trades Internship (at this time only available in the Portland metro area).

Research Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program options and consider applying for a program after graduation.


You must wait until your 18th birthday to complete the online application.

Decide which of our five programs you wish to apply for. Use the links and videos below to research your options.