Apprenticeship is a system of education and training using a planned, closely supervised combination of hands-on, on-the-job training, and academic classroom-style education. Apprentices are paid in “pay steps” every six months while they learn progressively more demanding components of their craft. This helps apprentice’s graduate into becoming qualified “journey-level” workers when they successfully complete their training program.
SCL's Apprenticeship programs are open to all candidates who meet our stringent qualifications. It's our goal that SCL's apprentices reflect the diversity in the City's population. We are dedicated to increasing the number of women and minorities in our apprenticeships while providing opportunity for all qualified applicants.
Seattle City Light is committed to training people for a variety of craft positions in the electrical utility industry. If you're at least 18 years old, looking for a challenging career, and have the right combination of education, skills, and physical abilities, you could be eligible for one of Seattle City Light's Apprenticeship Programs.
You can prepare for apprenticeship by maintaining or refreshing your math skills (a “C” or better in Algebra is required, Geometry and/or Trigonometry would be helpful), increasing your knowledge of electrical theory (not required for Pre-Apprenticeship Lineworker) and mechanical reasoning skills; and improve your physical fitness level.
Seattle City Light apprenticeship programs are approved, registered, and monitored by the State of Washington Labor and Industries Apprenticeship and Training Council. The Washington State Apprenticeship Training Standards are carefully overseen by the City of Seattle Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) and Apprenticeship Sub-Committees, which consist of experienced journey-level workers, SCL Apprenticeship Coordinators, and management personnel. In addition, apprentices at Seattle City Light are required to join their appropriate craft's union.
City Light’s Pre-Apprentice Lineworker (PAL) program offers paid, six-month probationary training positions designed to help new employees learn the skills needed to become apprentice lineworkers. Instruction includes crew assistance and equipment preparation. PALs work directly with line crews, and gain experience in the typical tasks and duties of lineworkers. PAL training includes physical workouts in preparation for the demands of the job. Instruction in climbing wooden poles begins gradually, once a week. PALs will receive CDL training and must obtain a Class “A” CDL.
To graduate into the Lineworker Apprenticeship Program, PALs must pass a set of physical capacity tests and a series of pole climbing tests. Graduates enter a 3 ½ year/7,000 hour Lineworker Apprenticeship learning to work with high voltage electrical equipment in a variety of settings and adverse weather conditions.
The Cable Splicer apprenticeship is a 4 year/8,000 hour program preparing the apprentice to perform physically demanding work in confined areas, including locating and repairing electrical faults underground in vaults and tunnels. Cable Splicers learn to splice, terminate, and maintain low & high voltage power cables in an underground network distribution system. Apprentices also learn to install and maintain conductors, transformers, network protectors, relays, switches, and related electrical equipment.
The Electrician Constructor apprenticeship is a 4 year/8,000 hour training program. Apprentices learn to work with high voltage electricity and provide service and maintenance to substations throughout Seattle City Light’s distribution system. Under the supervision of journey-level workers, apprentices perform work on transformers, conductors, circuit breakers, switches, protective devices, and cutouts. Apprentices work on poles, towers, and underground vaults performing physically demanding work in adverse weather conditions
The Generation Electrician Constructor apprenticeship is a 4-year/8,000 hour program. Apprentices are assigned to the hydroelectric facilities which are located at the Boundary & Skagit Dam areas. Apprentices will work with high voltage electricity and provide service and maintenance throughout Seattle City Light’s distribution system. Under the supervision of journey-level workers, apprentices perform work on generators, install, troubleshoot and maintain the powerhouse operating systems, and will work on governors, protective devices, circuit breakers, disconnects, and transformers. Apprentices will assemble and disassemble heavy equipment associated with generation facilities and perform physically demanding work at heights, over water, and in confined spaces
The Hydroelectric Maintenance Machinist is an 8,000 hour for hour training program to become a journey level HEMM. Apprentices perform progressively more complex and physically demanding work assignments such as maintaining and repairing equipment and machinery; analyzing and diagnosing problems; disassembling and machining unavailable parts.
The Meter Electrician apprenticeship is a 3 year/6000 hour training program. Apprentices learn to install single and poly-phase meters, transformer-related meters, self-contained meters and instrument transformers. They learn about lab and field test meters, automatic metering devices and substation and co-generation metering.
Apprentices attend academic evening classes to get in-depth instruction on the theory and practice of their craft to thoroughly understand what they do in the field and help them to progress on to more complex skills as they advance through their career.
Apprentices attend a minimum of 144 hours of related supplemental academic instruction each year. These classes are held weekly, four hours per week from September -June. You will not be paid for time spent in class or on homework.
Homework assignments, projects and preparation for tests usually require additional study time. The night school courses are taught by experienced craft workers.
After successfully meeting the requirements listed above and passing the City and Union required exams, the apprentice is awarded a Certificate of Completion to become a journey level worker.
Seattle City Light offers a class called Basic Electricity and Applied Math (BEAM) twice a year on average. Successful completion of a BEAM class qualifies you to apply for a City Light apprenticeship, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. BEAM provides a comprehensive introduction to basic electrical theory and practice, basic algebra, and the practical math required on the job. BEAM also provides instruction on proper interviewing techniques and other professional skills for those seeking a career in the skilled trades. When scheduled, BEAM classes are held two nights per week from 5:30-8:30 pm for 12 weeks at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle Community College. The approximate cost for BEAM is $500, which includes tuition, books, and student parking.
For more information about BEAM, or to be placed on a BEAM waiting list, please email the Apprenticeship Office at SCL_Apprenticeship@seattle.gov. You will be notified in advance of upcoming BEAM classes. Please note that in order to register for BEAM, you will need to take and pass a basic math skills assessment test. You will not be able to register for BEAM until instructed by the Apprenticeship Office. Taking the BEAM class does not guarantee you will be accepted into an apprenticeship program.
If you are eligible for a City Light apprenticeship and meet the minimum qualifications, you will be invited to take the written test.
Written test: The written test assesses your basic mathematical ability, understanding of electrical theory, mechanical reasoning and reading comprehension. The written test also includes a Worker Attribute Survey; a set of questions relating to the personality traits and characteristics most strongly correlated with successful job performance in positions similar to City Light apprenticeships. Based on the written test, the most competitive candidates will proceed to the working test (or the physical capacity test, for pre-apprentice lineworker candidates).
Physical capacity test (pre-apprentice lineworkers only): There are three stations to evaluate physical capacity in upper body strength. These exam stations are chin-ups, up-right rows, and a measurement of your hand’s grip strength. Candidates must successfully pass each of the physical tests to continue on to the working test.
Working test: The working test is a “hands-on” demonstration of what you can do. This test gives you a chance to show your mechanical aptitude, knowledge of tools and electrical equipment, typical working skills, safety, work speed, and ability to follow directions. Based on the working test, the most competitive candidates will proceed to the oral panel interview.
Oral panel interview: Candidates will answer questions from a City Light panel that includes skilled trade representatives and management. The interview will include questions about work experience and background, and about hypothetical situations candidates could encounter on the job or in the workplace.
Reference check: After the interview, references for each of the most successful candidates will be contacted.
Conditional job offer: The most competitive candidates will receive a conditional offer of employment.
Candidates who receive conditional job offers are required to pass each of the following before receiving a final job offer:
Pre-employment physical: A medical examination of the candidate to determine whether he/she can perform the mental and physical functions of the job.
Drug test: Some City Light apprenticeships require a Class “A” Commercial Driver’s License. Candidates for these positions are required to take and pass a drug test, and by Federal Law must be randomly drug tested throughout their career.
Background check: This will include criminal history, driving record, education, and employment verification.
For additional information about City Light apprenticeships, please email the Apprenticeship Office at SCL_Apprenticeship@seattle.gov and a member of our team will quickly get back to you. You may also call the Apprenticeship Office at (206) 386-1603.
For additional information about career opportunities with City Light, or about our hiring process, please email our Talent Acquisition Team at SCL_Talent_Acquisition@seattle.gov, or call (206) 733-9924
To find out more about other apprenticeship opportunities in Washington State, contact the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries:
Department of Labor and Industries
Specialty Compliance Service Division
Apprenticeship Section, P.O. Box 44530
Olympia, WA 98504-4530
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