California Gives State Apprenticeship Program Its Stamp of Approval

MONROVIA, Calif.—The Western Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA) has been notified that its Apprenticeship and Training Program for Fire/Life Safety Technicians has been approved by the State of California Division of Apprenticeship Standards. The program, submitted for approval in August 2001, is the result of nearly two years of work by the WBFAA board of directors in concert with the California Alarm Association (CAA) and California Automatic Fire Alarm Association (CAFAA).

“The approval of this program signals a new era for the growth of professionalism for the fire/life safety industry and will serve as a means to meet the expanding needs of the citizens of California,” says George Gunning, WBFAA president. “Our industry has always had a commitment to training. The WBFAA program allows us to satisfy the requirements of the law, and to establish ourselves as a profession and an industry that will be very attractive to the young men and women seeking a career.”

The WBFAA Apprenticeship Program offers a three-year curriculum of 525 hours of academic study and 6,000 hours of on-the-job training. Enforcement of the law is set for Jan. 1, 2005. The law covers all persons who engage in the connection of electrical devices of 100 volt-amperes and above for electrical contractors as classified in the Contractors’ State License Board Rules and Regulations.

The WBFAA will begin accepting letters from companies to participate in the program in early fall, and courses for apprentices are expected to begin in 2003. The WBFAA will also be offering pretesting workshops along with refresher courses for individuals who have 4,000 hours of work experience and who will be required to sit for the California State Fire/Life Safety certification exam. The WBFAA is developing a timeline for implementation based on the passage of AB 1087 and the approval of the apprenticeship program.

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