Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship Contact Information

Contact us by email at SPUApprenticeship@Seattle.gov   

2 people working on a hydrant

Men working on water pipe construction

SPU is now accepting applications for the Water Pipe Work Apprenticeship! Go to the job notice

Apprenticeship Overview

Earn while you learn as an apprentice at Seattle Public Utilities. SPU sponsors two-year registered apprenticeship programs. If accepted into an SPU apprenticeship, you'll learn a skilled trade with advancement opportunity, good pay, and excellent benefits.

  • No previous experience is required! This is an entry-level opportunity with huge potential for advancement.
  • During the initial phase of your employment, you will receive all the training needed to obtain your Class B Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
  • Benefits include medical and dental insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, and a pension.

In addition to full-time paid employment, apprentices are required to attend a minimum of 144 (unpaid) hours per year of classroom instruction and hands-on training provided at no cost. Unlike many other apprenticeship programs, we provide classroom training during regular working hours to accommodate apprentices who may have difficulty attending evening or weekend classes.

Apprenticeship Programs Offered

Water Pipe Worker Apprenticeship - now accepting applications!

During your apprenticeship, you will work with Journey-level Water Pipe Workers to construct, install, and repair SPU's water mains, services, valves, and fire hydrants. You'll also have the opportunity to work in the utility's transmission system that brings some of the best drinking water in the nation from pristine watersheds to our customers. At the end of our two-year program, you will graduate to become a registered journey-level Water Pipe Worker yourself, passing on your knowledge to the next generation of apprentices.

Seattle Public Utilities is gearing up to offer a Water Pipe Worker Apprenticeship Program in 2020! Water Pipe Worker apprentices are expected to work outside in all types of weather, terrain and environment, and at all hours. Safety is our highest priority. All apprentices will be trained to work safely on construction sites and city streets, around heavy equipment, and using power tools. You will be expected to wear personal protective equipment, high-visibility clothing, and follow strict safety regulations. The positions are represented by United Association Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local #32. View the Water Pipe Worker Apprentice job description.

Under guidance from a journey-level trainer, Water Pipe Worker apprentices:

  • Repair broken water mains, install new service connections, perform routine maintenance, and respond to emergency situations within the water system.
  • Work around heavy equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and excavators.
  • Operate tools and large equipment.
  • Perform work in confined spaces.
  • Work with our field crews throughout the city and in the watersheds.
  • Develop communication skills and play an active role in investigating and resolving customer complaints.
  • Please note, as drivers of commercial vehicles, federal regulations require that Water Pipe Workers be entered into a random drug and alcohol testing pool.

Drainage & Wastewater Apprenticeship - anticipated 2021

Drainage & Wastewater Collection Workers construct, maintain, inspect, and repair sewer lines, drainage systems, shafts, tunnels and maintenance holes in the drainage and sewer systems for the City of Seattle. 

Seattle Public Utilities anticipates forming its next Drainage & Wastewater Apprenticeship class in 2021. Drainage & Wastewater apprentices are expected to work outside in all types of weather, terrain and environment, and at all hours. Safety is of the highest priority. All apprentices will be trained to work safely around worksite and environmental hazards, wear personal protective equipment and clothing, and follow strict safety regulations. The positions are represented by the Public Service and Industrial Employees, Local 1239. View the Drainage and Wastewater Collection Worker Apprentice job description. Under guidance from a journey-level employee, Drainage and Wastewater apprentices will also learn and be expected to:

  • Operate tools and large equipment, and work around heavy equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and excavators.
  • Work with our field crews throughout the city.
  • Perform work in confined spaces.
  • Work at heights, and climb in and out of deep structures.
  • Clean catch basins, remove hazardous materials, clear debris from creeks, make repairs, and install infrastructure such as maintenance holes, catch basins, and pipes within the rain water drainage system.
  • Repair broken sewer pipelines, install new service connections, inspect sewer lines using a closed-circuit TV, and respond to emergency situations within the sewer system.
  • Investigate and resolve customer complaints.
  • Please note, as drivers of commercial vehicles, federal regulations require that Drainage and Wastewater Collection Workers be entered into a random drug testing pool.

Working Conditions:

The successful candidates, at a minimum, must demonstrate skills and abilities, and committed to work in adverse conditions to:

  • Perform demanding and physically challenging work, including lifting more than 50 pounds up to waist level.
  • Bend, stoop and dig for extended periods of time.
  • Work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, heavy traffic; entering confined spaces (such as maintenance chambers, holes and excavations).
  • Work schedule:
    • Work any shift or schedule, including nights, evenings, weekends and holidays
    • Respond to emergency conditions resulting in overtime with little or no notice
    • May be required to participate in standby rotation to ensure adequate staff are available during off-hours to handle emergency events
  • Meet the conditions set forth in the City of Seattle, Washington Standards of Apprenticeship, Our City Values, Workplace Expectations, Racial Equity and Social Justice, and SPU Safety.

Application and Hiring Process

Application

We are currently accepting applications for our Water Pipe Worker Apprenticeship Program. Our new class/cohort is starting up soon!

Applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be a High School graduate or equivalent, or a vocational school graduate
  • At least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of hire
  • Current valid driver's license from any state at time of application
    • Applicants must obtain a Washington State driver's license on or before the date of hire 
    • Applicants must provide proof of driving record by submitting their “FULL Abstract Driving Record” as part of the application material. Your “Full Abstract of Driving Record” must not be older than 30 days from the date of application submission. DO NOT submit the Employment Driver Abstract. Please follow the instructions below:

How to obtain your “Full Abstract of Driving Record”: (Online or In-person)

How to submit your “Full Abstract of Driving Record”:

  • Scan and attach your “Full Abstract of Driving Record” to your application OR
  • Mail “Full Abstract of Driving Record” to the following address:
    Seattle Public Utilities
    Attention:  Human Resources
    700 - 5th Ave
    P.O Box 34018
    Seattle, WA  98124-4018
    OR
  • Hand deliver “Full Abstract of Driving Record” to the following address:
    Seattle Municipal Tower
    700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4900
    Seattle, WA 98104

Note: If you mail or hand-deliver your “Full Abstract of Driving Record”, it must be received by our office on February 21, 2020, no later than 4pm (PST) to receive first consideration.

Hiring

If you meet the following you will be invited to take the Math and Reading test:

  •  Minimum Qualifications
  •  Full Abstract of Driving Record – not older than 30 days from the date of application submission
  •  Application Completeness

Math and English Comprehension Test - TBD

Based on the test results, the most competitive candidates will proceed to the working test.

Working test: The test has three parts with time limits: (1) lift and carry (2) shovel (3) mechanical aptitude.  The first two parts are to evaluate physical capacity in body strength. Candidates must successfully pass both stations to continue on to the mechanical aptitude. The mechanical aptitude test is a “hands-on” demonstration on how to use a diagram to correctly put parts together. This test gives you a chance to show your mechanical aptitude and ability to follow directions. Based on the working test results, the most competitive candidates will proceed to the oral panel interview.

Oral panel interview: SPU interview panelists which include skilled trades staff 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.
  • CDL background check: Driving safety record.
  • Drug test: As a requirement to obtain a Class “B” Commercial Driver’s License, selected candidates are required to take and pass a drug test, and by Federal Law must be randomly drug tested throughout their career.

Resources/Reference Materials/Guides

Web Sites Khan Academy
https://www.khanacademy.org/signup
Awesome Library
https://www.awesomelibrary.org/Classroom/Mathematics/Middle-High_School_Math/Trigonometry.html  
CDL – Commercial driver guide
https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/cdlguide.html