Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship Contact Information

Contact us by email at SPUApprenticeship@Seattle.gov 

Men working on water pipe construction

SPU will soon be accepting applications for the Water Pipe Work Apprenticeship!

Send us an email with your contact information to be put on our contact list. You will be updated with details on the application process as soon as they become available: SPUApprenticeship@Seattle.gov

Apprenticeship Overview

Earn while you learn as an apprentice at Seattle Public Utilities. SPU's Apprenticeships are two-year programs. If accepted into an SPU apprenticeship, you'll receive valuable job skills, excellent pay and attractive 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 and holidays, and a pension.

In addition to being working full-time as regular employees of SPU, apprentices must attend 144 (unpaid) hours per year of classroom and hands-on training which is provided at no cost to them. Unlike some apprenticeships, we anticipate conducting these additional classes on weekdays during regular working hours to accommodate apprentices who may have difficulty attending evening classes.

Apprencticeship Programs Offered

Water Pipe Worker Apprenticeship - starting soon!

During your apprenticeship, you will work with journeymen 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 the two-year program, you will be a journeyman 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-visibililty 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 employee, Water Pipe Worker apprentices:

  • Operate tools and large equipment.
  • Work around heavy equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and excavators.
  • Work with a crew.
  • Perform work in confined spaces.
  • Work throughout the city and in the watersheds.
  • Repair broken water mains, install new service connections, perform routine maintenance, and respond to emergency situations within the water system.
  • Investigate and resolve customer complaints.
  • Develop communication skills and play an active role in solving problems. 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 and Wastewater 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 and Wastewater Apprenticeship class in 2021. Drainage and 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 a crew.
  • Perform work in confined spaces.
  • Work at heights, and climb in and out of deep structures.
  • Report to various work sites.
  • 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.
  • Develop communication skills and play an active role in solving problems. As drivers of commercial vehicles, federal regulations require that Drainage and Wastewater Collection Workers be entered into a random drug testing pool.

Minimum Requirements

Applicants must:

  • be at least eighteen (18) years of age by the time of hire.
  • be a High School graduate or equivalent, or a vocational school graduate.
  • have documented proof of graduation, and a current driver’s license (from any state) at time of application.
  • obtain a current State of Washington driver’s license on or before date of hire.
  • be able to obtain a State of Washington Commercial Class B driver’s license (CDL). Apprentices will have four months from date of hire to obtain CDL. All of the training needed to obtain the CDL is provided during the apprenticeship.
  • obtain your complete driving record from the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) at a minimal cost. Obtain your complete driving record from your home state.
  • be willing to work in adverse conditions and be physically capable of performing the job requirements. A full description of the job requirements can be found in the Water Pipe Worker job description, but they include:
    • digging, bending, and lifting more than 50 pounds
    • working in all weather conditions, confined spaces, and city traffic
    • working at night, on weekends and holidays
    • participating in a standby rotation to ensure adequate staff are available during off-hours to handle emergency events
  • willing to attend 144 unpaid hours of classes per year throughout the apprenticeship.
  • meet the conditions set forth in the Washington State Apprenticeship Standards. Complete standards are available online (pdf), by email, or by calling (360) 902-5320.

Hiring Process, Sample Tests & Interview Guide

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will also have to pass both written and working tests, and participate in an in-person interview:

  • The written test includes reading comprehension, high school level math, and mechanical comprehension. No calculators are permitted. You can use this practice test to familiarize yourself with the types of material that will be on the test.
  • The working tests include:
    • a shoveling test to ensure the candidate has the minimum level of fitness, strength, and endurance to perform the work.
    • a lift-and-carry test to ensure the candidate can safely lift objects over 50 pounds
    • a mechanical aptitude test to ensure the candidate has the minimum level of mechanical aptitude to be successful in the program.

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