Students continue to flock to classes and training that can lead to jobs on California’s High-Speed Rail project and other infrastructure projects. Two years ago, Yovani Moreno took Pre-Apprenticeship Training classes at the Construction and General Laborers’ Local 294 union hall in Fresno.
"I had a felony in my past so it was hard to maintain a job,” explained Moreno. “I worked in landscaping, manufacturing and food packing, but only made minimum wage – $8 an hour."
Construction training helped him join the Laborers’ Union and make $17.50 an hour as an apprentice on the High-Speed Rail project. Currently, Yovani is making $24 an hour doing traffic control. His pay will jump to $28 an hour when he becomes a journeyman. The 34-year-old, who has a 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, calls the job a blessing.
"I can pay my bills on time. And when my daughter’s birthday comes up, I can throw her a birthday party and buy her a nice gift.” Moreno hopes one day to become a job superintendent, foreman, or a business owner. He said, “It’s hard, but I know if I just keep going, my family will get the benefits."