Today only the first 1,000 job applicants out of at least 1,500 people who lined up in Queens will be tested and interviewed for the Plumbers Union Apprenticeship Program in Queens. Out of the 1,000, only a fraction will get in.
Hundreds of hopeful plumbers have been camping out in front of the plumbers union office at 50-02 Fifth Street in Long Island City to get a shot at the apprenticeship Arthur Clark, the director of the program, told QNS.
Apprentices will be given hands-on experience during the five-year program. They’ll each get assigned a contractor and work full-time for them, learning the tricks of the trade.
It’s not just work experience that the plumbers-to-be will be gaining through the program, but a life-changing opportunity as well. Although the qualifications only require a high school diploma and a C in Math 1 or 2, those who finish the program will leave with an associate degree in science at SUNY Empire State College. Participants go to class weekly, all the while getting paid as if they’re working at the same time.
The high number of the applicants isn’t surprising, according to Clark. “The turnout was a little high, but back during the recession in 2008 we saw way more,” he said.
The average hourly wage for an “A plumber” in NYC is $67/hour and $40 for a “B plumber” — but that’s just for the top tier of plumbers. The median hourly income for NYC plumbers overall is $25/hour.