- Stockton Chamber Apprenticeship Program

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For more than a decade, San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate has been at least twice the national average, and the County has been designated a Labor Surplus Area. Since 1995, the average unemployment rate in San Joaquin County has been 10.7%, and the City of Stockton unemployment rate has been 12.6%, nearly double that of the State of California (6.5%). Not included in these staggering statistics are approximately eight to ten thousand welfare recipients receiving different levels of public assistance throughout San Joaquin County.

Impact of Welfare to Work Legislation
California’s Welfare to Work legislation (AB 1542) requires welfare recipients to become self-sufficient within two years. Under CalWORKs, welfare recipients must participate in a work activity. One allowable activity, work experience, is a training activity in the public or private sector, including for-profit organizations that provide basic job skills and enhance existing job skills in a position related to the participant's experience. Additionally, non-paid work experience activities are limited to a 12-month period, and should lead to employment. Locally, San Joaquin County estimates there are at least 14 individuals vying for every available job. Many current CalWORKs clients must accept part-time and non-traditional employment in order to meet the CalWORKs work activity requirements.

Stockton Chamber Responds to Employment Needs
In response to this regional need, the Chamber formed the Stockton Chamber Apprenticeship Program (SCAP) Development Committee, comprised of Human Resource Professionals from Stockton and San Joaquin County businesses committed to designing an equitable, comprehensive program to place CalWORKs clients into full-time jobs. Thus, the SCAP Committee directed Chamber staff to facilitate a SCAP pilot project to demonstrate program viability. Subsequently, SCAP placed 52 San Joaquin County residents into full-time jobs.

Employment Preparation Program Helps Ensure Participant Success
The primary strategy of the SCAP initiative is to meet labor market needs by first placing participants in an "Employment Preparation Program," which consists of academic and work maturity skill training. The purpose of the Employment Preparation Program is to ensure participants are equipped with the work maturity skills (i.e. coming to work every day, arriving at work on time, working with others, following instructions, etc.) needed for long-term employment. San Joaquin County Office of Education, San Joaquin Delta College, San Joaquin County WorkNet and San Joaquin County Human Services Agency’s partner organizations provide this training, and also provide the initial assessment of all SCAP participants.

Interviews Lead to Employment Opportunities
Upon completion of the Employment Preparation Program, CalWORKs clients have an opportunity to compete for placement in various SCAP apprenticeships. The SCAP Oral Board Interview Panel interviews each candidate to determine if their skills match the criteria required by the potential employer for permanent hire. Subsequently, eligible candidates are referred to area businesses for apprenticeship interviews. Participant's who have successfully completed SCAP's two-week apprenticeship program are then hired on directly with that employer.

Ongoing Feedback Aids in Development
At each interview stage, an evaluation is done for those candidates who were not successful in the screening process. These evaluations are delivered to the SCAP partners for follow-up instruction and soft skill development training.

Apprenticeship Period Mirrors Employment Trends
The average apprenticeship period for each CalWORKs client is approximately two to three weeks, significantly less than the 12 months allowed by AB 1542. A recent business survey indicated that most employee turnover occurs within the first three weeks of employment, and hence the apprenticeship period mirrors that timeframe.

Employers & Job Seekers Win with SCAP
SCAP offers an employer the opportunity to provide tangible work experience to CalWORKs clients and, at the same time, evaluate them as potential employees with absolutely no employment costs. Only those businesses that furnish good faith commitments to hire the apprentice that meets their requirements are eligible to participate in SCAP. Obviously, SCAP provides a win-win situation for both the CalWORKs clients and the participating businesses.


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For more information on SCAP, call 209-337-2730 or email


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