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The State Building Trades stays involved in issues that impact our members’ working lives—from good wages and benefits, to creating a steady stream of work, to keeping the industry strong through apprenticeship. We’ve also been active in promoting our industry to women and people of color and ensuring that they can survive and thrive in the construction careers. Check out updates, studies and videos on each of these issues.

Women in Trades

Women are a small but mighty percentage of the construction workforce. Learn about efforts to recruit women into the trades, support them, and grow their leadership potential—on the job and in their unions. Many of the videos in this section were created for our Women Build Nations conferences that were held in California from 2002-2015. The conferences are now moving across the nation.

Women are the new face of construction. In this brief video, produced by the State Building Trades Council in collaboration with Tradeswomen, Inc. and funded by the California Department of Apprenticeship Standards—you’ll meet women who are in the field, working with the tools and building California. Women are still only a small percentage of those working on construction sites, and that fact alone makes it hard to recruit new women to come into the industry. This 4-minute video is designed to show women who might consider a career in the trades that construction might be an ideal choice for them.

Prevailing Wages

Ensuring that construction workers earn a wage that prevails in the local area is a way to promote local hiring over bringing in low-wage out-of-staters. Although the Building Trades got the prevailing wage inserted into the California constitution, localities look for ways around it on an on-going basis. See studies, videos, and news about the fight to keep the prevailing wage.

RIGHT THE FIRST TIME – The prevailing wage has been in California law for more than 80 years. This short video, produced by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, shows how paying prevailing wages supports our cities, counties, and the economy of our state by providing a trained and ready workforce that gets the job done right the first time. The video features two key stories: (1) How paying prevailing wage enabled CalTrans and Granite Construction to rebuild and reopen a fallen bridge on the I-10 in record time; and (2) How two library projects, in Gilroy and Palo Alto, where one paid the prevailing wage and the other didn’t; see the vastly different results.

Safety and Health

Construction can be a dangerous industry, but new technology, hazard abatement and good training can mean the difference for workers of coming home safely or getting injured. Visit the Building Trades Safety Hub to find valuable educational resources and tools for making workplaces safe.

Apprenticeship And Pre-Apprenticeship/ Mc3

Apprenticeship is the age-old method of teaching new workers the construction craft. With the loss of vocational education in most schools, Apprenticeship Prep programs have sprung up around the state using the Multi-Craft Core (MC3) curriculum approved by the National Building Trades that gives participants a leg up in understanding the crafts, gaining safety certificates, and being able to prepare for a successful apprenticeship. To learn more and to find good programs near you, go to our apprenticeship website.


From 1998-2007, we ran the BUILT program — Building Trades Ignite Less Tobacco — funded by the State of California. While the program is no longer funded, there’s great information here about tobacco use by blue collar workers, and construction workers, in particular throughout this website. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to update the website, so if links are broken, you’re on your own!

Project Labor Agreements

The best way to meet a community’s goals for local hire, and special outreach to veterans, the formerly incarcerated, and others with barriers to employment, is through a Project Labor Agreement or Community Workforce Agreement. Learn about how these workforce planning tools can benefit you.