In this video, you can learn about the carpenter's trade, what carpenters do, and what a career in it looks like.
- So a lot of times when somebody thinks about a carpenter they picture somebody wearing a tool belt, hammering nails into a piece of wood. Carpenters do so much more than that. - My name is Jen Netherwood, and I'm a journey-level carpenter. My role here at the training center is as an instructor, so I teach our apprentices everything from OSHA to doors and hardware. Lots of doors and hardware. - My name is Michael Hawes, I'm the Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute and we cover all of Oregon and Southwest Washington. - Carpenters have one of the biggest scopes of work on a job site. We do everything from build concrete forms, pour concrete, we frame walls with steel and wood, we install the doors, install the hardware. We install cabinets, we install everything from paper towel holders to soap dispensers. We build suspended ceilings, so our scope of work out on a job site is first swing of the hammer to the last little detail, punch list item. - I think one thing that's really unique about the carpenters, and if you take for example the general carpentry trade, we're the first ones on the job and the last ones to go. We'll do the foundation, we'll do the walls we could get involved in the roof structure. - [Jen] We work on schools, we work on hospitals we build roads and bridges. We know that we're out there, what we're building, the public is going to interact with. And if I'm building a school, I know I'm going to have a lot of grade school kids walking through those doors I put in, or sitting in a classroom where I built all those walls. Building stairs in hospitals, making a safe building for people to live in. - So off here you're center, and you go to seven and a half - You might have 100 carpenters out on a job site, you may be working with just one or two other carpenters. So the team dynamic could be a large team or a small team, but one of the things I think people don't realize is the amount of communication and people skills you have to have to be a successful carpenter. - [Michael] We have five different crafts that we represent. We have the general carpenters, which I talked about earlier. We have our exterior/interior systems specialists, we have our pile drivers that work primarily on offshore, on bridges and dams and things like that, and then we also have our millwrights, and a specialty set of scaffold erectors. Those make up the five crafts that we train here. - One of the things that I talk to my apprentices about it the professional level of being a carpenter. I am a professional carpenter, much like a professional biologist, a professional doctor, a professional lawyer. My professional level is the same as any other type of career. This is something I chose, and I trained for four years. I worked out in the field, and this is a lifelong career choice for me, and I definitely, I carry myself with a lot of pride. I'm very proud to be a professional carpenter. - Because we're the first ones on the job and the last ones to go, that puts us in a really strong position to be those construction foremen and superintendents to run the project. There's some synergy that's there that just doesn't get duplicated, and at the end of the day there's nothing more amazing than being able to walk out a building with the owner and a client, that basically six months or a year previous to that pretty much shook a hand with somebody and all you were looking at is like this bare piece of dirt, and now you're walking through a school with a principal, and talking about the school opening in the fall. We also have superintendents, we have specialists that get involved just in safety and management, we have quality control specialists, we have superintendents that may end up being project managers. A lot of the contractors that are in senior level leadership positions with companies, including some of the owners of the companies, they all got their start in a union apprenticeship program. So, we're not talking about a career that just maybe could last for five to 10 years, this is as good as any career that's out there in terms of having a nice, long healthy career. Plus I think also, a lot of times when you have the opportunity to work outside, our carpenters don't get sick as much, and they're pretty healthy because they're moving all day long. - I would say make sure you show up every single day with a willingness to learn. Leave your ego at home. And, you're going to make mistakes, and so one of the other things I would say is be willing to make mistakes and then recover from them, because that's what happens on a job site every single day. We all make mistakes, whether you're a 20 year journey person or a first day apprentice. We're going to make mistakes, and being able to let go of your ego, recover, solve the problem and move on is it's critical.