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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    3

    Question HVAC Apprenticeship and Local 250 ?'s

    Hi everyone,

    I see that below there is a local 250 thread already started but I have some slightly different questions so I started a new one. I am a 30 year old female of color who has applied with the local 250 in Los Angeles. If anyone in the industry, regardless of location, could answer my questions I'd be grateful. I'm also looking for anyone who might have experience with local 250.


    Questions:

    -Physically is it realistic for my to do this job? Any recommendations for tools i can use to offset a lack of upper body strength?

    -From what I have read thus far it seems like no matter what this job will break down my body. Is this an absolute certainty or is there a way to prevent this?

    -How much push back ,if any, can I expect due to my gender? When I sat for my epa universal I think i got just a taste of it. The staff was talking about blow jobs while I took my test (which is fine by me, that's their business to do so). I am, however, fairly certain it was specifically for my benefit due to the volume at which they were speaking and the fact that they started talking about it after I came in. I guess I'm wondering if this is the best, worst, or about average scenario for what i can expect.

    -I think I would like to head into commercial service. Is it possible to pick what you specifically want to do as an apprentice? What can i do, if anything, to increase my chances of getting into that side of Hvac? Is it better to be able to do both residential and commercial? Should i ask the local for a list of signatory contractors and pick the commercial ones to see if i can do my apprenticeship through them?

    -Does anyone in the southern CA area have any insight into what the working conditions are specific to this area? Namely: Is there enough work to go around with the economy? When is the busy season here? Will I be working outdoors a lot of the time?

    - Are there any recommendations for self study or training I can do on my own (besides epa universal certification) to make it a little easier on myself if I start the apprenticeship this summer?

    -This may seem a little off topic but, I will be getting a car soon. Do you think a hatchback would be good for carting tools or should i go with a truck?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    East coast USA
    Posts
    962
    Questions:Answers

    -Physically is it realistic for my to do this job? Any recommendations for tools i can use to offset a lack of upper body strength? like any job lift at least 50lbs but work smart

    -From what I have read thus far it seems like no matter what this job will break down my body. Is this an absolute certainty or is there a way to prevent this? depending on what you get into, but if your looking at service work and concerned, go find a desk job.

    -How much push back ,if any, can I expect due to my gender? When I sat for my epa universal I think i got just a taste of it. The staff was talking about blow jobs while I took my test (which is fine by me, that's their business to do so). I am, however, fairly certain it was specifically for my benefit due to the volume at which they were speaking and the fact that they started talking about it after I came in. I guess I'm wondering if this is the best, worst, or about average scenario for what i can expect. your in LA what did you expect? but real HVAC professionals don't talk like that.

    -I think I would like to head into commercial service. Is it possible to pick what you specifically want to do as an apprentice? What can i do, if anything, to increase my chances of getting into that side of Hvac? Is it better to be able to do both residential and commercial? Should i ask the local for a list of signatory contractors and pick the commercial ones to see if i can do my apprenticeship through them? get in first, worry about that later

    -Does anyone in the southern CA area have any insight into what the working conditions are specific to this area? Namely: Is there enough work to go around with the economy? When is the busy season here? Will I be working outdoors a lot of the time? plan on getting all the dirty work, when your a noob you will pay your dues

    - Are there any recommendations for self study or training I can do on my own (besides epa universal certification) to make it a little easier on myself if I start the apprenticeship this summer? there are plenty of webs sites and books to read. Go look at HVAC systems and identify components then take your ac apart and put it back together. doing is learning

    -This may seem a little off topic but, I will be getting a car soon. Do you think a hatchback would be good for carting tools or should i go with a truck? if you use your car plan to have it trashed in a year. I think if you work for someone they will have a truck to ride in or someone to partner with. If your doing this on your own. DONT drive up in a car loaded with your tools! not very professional.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by dynamicwater View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I see that below there is a local 250 thread already started but I have some slightly different questions so I started a new one. I am a 30 year old female of color who has applied with the local 250 in Los Angeles. If anyone in the industry, regardless of location, could answer my questions I'd be grateful. I'm also looking for anyone who might have experience with local 250.


    Questions:

    -Physically is it realistic for my to do this job? Any recommendations for tools i can use to offset a lack of upper body strength?

    Yes. Develop the muscle between your ears.

    -From what I have read thus far it seems like no matter what this job will break down my body. Is this an absolute certainty or is there a way to prevent this?

    Use proper lifting technique (do not lift with your back, for one) and all kidding aside, wear kneepads, every time, or bring along a gardening kneeling pad.

    -How much push back ,if any, can I expect due to my gender? When I sat for my epa universal I think i got just a taste of it. The staff was talking about blow jobs while I took my test (which is fine by me, that's their business to do so). I am, however, fairly certain it was specifically for my benefit due to the volume at which they were speaking and the fact that they started talking about it after I came in. I guess I'm wondering if this is the best, worst, or about average scenario for what i can expect.

    That is unprofessional and unacceptable. You would be within your rights to file a sexual harassment complaint, especially if the discussion was amongst exam proctors. The bigger commercial jobsites in my area have pretty strict rules against sexual harassment, which includes staring.

    -I think I would like to head into commercial service. Is it possible to pick what you specifically want to do as an apprentice? What can i do, if anything, to increase my chances of getting into that side of Hvac? Is it better to be able to do both residential and commercial? Should i ask the local for a list of signatory contractors and pick the commercial ones to see if i can do my apprenticeship through them?

    I would bet that you can't pick.

    -Does anyone in the southern CA area have any insight into what the working conditions are specific to this area? Namely: Is there enough work to go around with the economy? When is the busy season here? Will I be working outdoors a lot of the time?

    - Are there any recommendations for self study or training I can do on my own (besides epa universal certification) to make it a little easier on myself if I start the apprenticeship this summer?

    This forum has an education section.

    -This may seem a little off topic but, I will be getting a car soon. Do you think a hatchback would be good for carting tools or should i go with a truck?

    You can carry lots of service-type tools in a car or small wagon.

    If you are working for a decent employer as a serviceperson, a service vehicle should be provided. Some employers will think "side jobber" if you pull up with a outfitted truck and you won't get hired beyond the apprentice stage. Other employers will make you cart their stuff.

    Gas is expensive and I would not buy a truck as an employee. A Transit Connect would be an exception... but, it can be viewed as a truck and opens accusations of "side jobber" or "take this to the job with you". Unless you are being monetarily compensated, carting the boss' stuff around in your vehicle costs you money.

    I would stick with buying a reliable affordable car-like vehicle. Much simpler.

    If you want to go out on your own, or if you work for someone that will pay you for a vehicle (and you can still afford it if/when you get fired), then look at other options. Vehicles in HVAC can be a double edged sword.
    Answers in Quote above.

    Maybe not the right ones. Those cost extra.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    3
    Thank you guys for your responses. Much appreciated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,158
    Have you taken the apprenticeship examination yet? I took it back in '79 and as I remember there were a lot of applicants for very few spots. I ended up 2nd or 3rd on the list, but ended up getting grandfathered in as a journeyman for York International (I had been in the business for 7 years at that time). There are a number of good firms doing commercial/industrial service in the LA area.

    Women can do the job. After I moved to San Diego I met a woman pipefitter who was one of the best welders around. And she was a very petite woman. I don't think she weighed 100 lbs. It all depends on your drive, perseverance and commitment to be the best you can be.

    Local 250 has rules on what tools an employee has to provide. As an apprentice, I believe those tools are minimal. You certainly wouldn't need a truck to haul them around. An apprentice will be working with a journeyman who would have the necessary tools.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    258
    I've been in the HVAC business since 1990 and I have met only one woman in the trade. She was an apprentice and working in residential/light commercial service. She only lasted 3 years of the 5 year apprenticeship, and dropped out.

    This is a very physically demanding profession and you need to take that into consideration. If you were my daughter, sister or wife, I would strongly dissuade you from entering this trade, but would support your decision either way.

    That said, I just finished a job at the local nuclear power plant where they were doing an entire system upgrade, and I met many women who were welders, boilermakers, and riggers, and they were just as good as any man. No problems with upper body strength or doing the work, and they were just as tired as the guys at the end of the day.

    I also know some women who have broken through male dominated industry, specifically airline pilot, and I flew with them personally. Of course they were excellent pilots and I enjoyed working with them. But that is a white collar occupation and not physically demanding.

    So basically it is up to the individual to decide what you can handle, and how motivated you are to succeed in this male dominated industry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    3
    To KnewYork:

    I did take the examination and I there were a ton of people taking it that day. If I do get in, I think I'll just go with a regular car.

    To TheChillerMan:

    I appreciate the insight. It definitely gives me something to think about. I don't want to wind up wasting anyone's time for sure.

    Thanks to both you guys for responding to my post.

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