Katerra factory

A wall panel is manufactured at Katerra’s Phoenix factory. The Tracy factory, scheduled to open in September, is twice the size of the Phoenix factory and will produce wall panels, floor systems, roof-truss assemblies, windows, cabinets and finishes.

Katerra, which is actively recruiting employees for its soon-to-be-opened Tracy factory that will produce a variety of manufactured building components, has announced a new apprenticeship program aimed at making jobs at the factory even more attractive.

The program permits apprentices in building trades to earn nationally recognized, portable credentials — valid at Katerra and elsewhere — that are registered and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

All this is taking place while Katerra reports it is “actively recruiting for apprentices in the Central Valley for its growing pipeline of projects in Northern California.”

Once up and running, possibly as soon as September, the 577,000-square-foot factory on Grant Line Road near Chrisman Road is projected to be an important cog in keeping that project pipeline flowing. About 500 jobs are being created in high-tech production and support operations at the plant.

Katerra, which has its headquarters in Menlo Park, now offers registered apprenticeships for carpentry, plumbing, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Other trades will be added.

In addition to being registered and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Katerra apprenticeship program is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education Research, reported J.Z. Rigney, a Katerra spokesperson.

She said that as part of the program, Katerra is offering a series of weeklong boot camps at its state-of-the-art factories for related technical instruction training modules. The boot camps — conducted in both English and Spanish — are designed to ensure each participant receives individualized support. Classes in English as a second language are also offered.

Rigney said that working relationships with local job development agencies, including those in Tracy, will be formed in the near future.

Samantha Rist, who is directing Katerra’s new nationwide apprenticeship program, reports that a good deal of interest is being shown throughout the building industry, which is facing challenges involved with preparing a workforce “for the future of construction.”

She said that elements of the training, coupled with the labor department’s involvement, created a unique, sustainable program as construction technology continues to evolve at an ever-faster pace.

People can get information about career opportunities, including jobs in Tracy, on Katerra’s website, www.katerra.com.

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