Apprenticeship Program

Our apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction in a highly skilled and valued trade of carpentry. It is a four-year program and requires:

  • Total of 8000 hours (2000 a year) of on-the-job training
  • Total of 39 credit hours (615 hours in the classroom)

Apprenticeship Program from Pokagon Band on Vimeo.

Eligibility
To be eligible for the Carpenter Apprenticeship Program, you must:  

  • Be a tribal citizen, spouse of a tribal citizen, or custodial parent of a tribal citizen
  • Have completed a high school diploma or GED
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Complete or have already completed an OSHA 10 hour training
  • Complete a TABE test with a score of no lower than 9th grade level

Documentation of these requirements must be provided.

Application Process

Enrollment is currently open. Please submit a Carpenter Apprentice application, then complete a short survey. Contact Traci Henslee, workforce training and resource specialist, at (269) 462-4227 for more information.

The apprenticeship system first evolved in the later Middle Ages. Eventually craft guilds and town governments supervised the apprenticeship structure. Under this system, a master craftsman was entitled to employ young people as an inexpensive form of labor in exchange for providing food, lodging, and formal training in the craft. An aspiring master would have to pass through the career chain from apprentice to journeyman before he or she could be elected to become a master craftsman. The journeyman would then have to produce a sum of money and a masterpiece before he could actually join the guild. If the masterpiece was not accepted by the masters, he was not allowed to join the guild, possibly remaining a journeyman for the rest of his life. Apprentices usually began at a young age (ten to fifteen years old), and would live in the master craftsman's household. Most apprentices aspired to become master craftsmen themselves on completion of their contract, which was usually a term of seven years. Some would spend time as a journeyman, and a significant proportion would never acquire their own workshop.