DWR Apprenticeship Program Exam Applications Now Available

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Looking to launch a career in the water industry? The annual application process for DWR’s apprenticeship program is now underway.

The program prepares apprentices for a career in the hydroelectric industry, combining hands-on-learning, classroom study, and home study with supervised on-the-job training. Upon completion, apprentices are guaranteed a full-time journey-level position with DWR in their field. 

“Successfully completing the DWR Apprenticeship Program has been the ultimate kick-starter to my career and provided the fundamental knowledge, experience, and skills to safely and effectively perform my job at every level,” saidJason Bunce, DWR training center supervisor and 2008 hydroelectric plant mechanic apprentice graduate.

The Process

On May 5, for one day only, applicants can file for the apprentice exam in-person from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m at one of DWR’s field offices (Oroville, Byron, Bakersfield, Pearblossom). Read the exam bulletin on CalHR for information on how to apply for the exam.

DWR staff will review exam applications on the spot. Qualified applicants will then receive a notice of testing to come back for the written exam in June.

Upon passing the written exam, applicants are eligible to apply for the apprenticeship program. Vacancies are posted on CalHR’s website, usually in July. Apprentice classes are hired together, one time per year, in December or January.

The Program

DWR offers 4 apprenticeships:

  • Utility Craftsworker (3 years)
  • Hydroelectric Plant Electrician (4 years)
  • Hydroelectric Plant Mechanic (4 years)
  • Hydroelectric Plant Operator (3 years)

In the first 2 years, participants receive instruction and complete most tasks under supervision. In the later years, apprentices perform more complex tasks, demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and abilities required on the job. Participants are continuously evaluated and must pass a series of exams to progress through the program.

After completion, graduates will receive a full-time journey-level position with DWR in their learned trade. Graduates are certified through the Department of Industrial Relations and receive a Certificate of Completion in their trade.

For more information email Kristie.Joyce@water.ca.gov and view the apprenticeship program webpage.