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Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship is a program that serves young adults between the ages of 18-26 who are disconnected from higher education or gainful employment and have an interest in pursuing a career in the trades. This free program provides 345 hours of training, mentoring, 6+ certifications, connections to industry professionals, and ongoing support services to pre-apprentices.

Why a Career in the Trades?

The trades are a fast track to a family-wage career! Find a craft that suits your interests and skills, gain the necessary certifications in less time than a four-year degree, and enter a career in the trades without student loan debt! 

Within just a few years, you can be making six figures, all while doing the important work of keeping our community running. 


We pair our Scholars with a trained, caring adult mentor in the months before they head off to their postsecondary program.  Mentors are a crucial part of the support system we strive to surround our Scholars with, and they are vital to each Scholar’s success. We are actively looking for community leaders who would like to volunteer as a Mentor for one of our Scholars!

Image by Eugen Str

Why Join Palmer Pathways?

Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship provides you with all of the tools you need to be successful in the trade of your choice. You will gain certifications needed to be a competitive candidate, receive financial support for educational programs, network with industry leaders, and have a committed team supporting you each step of the way. Palmer Pathways has 12 apprenticeship partners who will also give you direct or preferred entry upon completion of our 14-week program!

What are the Program Requirements?

To be eligible, prospective Pre-Apprentices must:

  • Be 18-26 years old

  • Be a Pierce County resident

  • Identify as a person of color

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED by the start of the next cohort (preferred

  • Be committed to participate in all training sessions, remain substance free throughout the program, and maintain consistent communication with the Palmer Pathways team

How to Apply

Step 1: Fill Out an Interest Form


Step 2: Schedule a meeting with a staff member to go through the application process.

Step 3: Schedule an intake meeting to talk to someone on the Palmer Pathways team. We will work with you to get all necessary documents submitted.

Image by Scott Blake

A Model that Centers Our Pre-Apprentices' Needs

We recognize disconnected young adults come to our program with needs that extend beyond the worksite. Many of our Pre-Apprentices have families and barriers that have prevented them from achieving gainful employment. We understand that we cannot expect our Pre-Apprentices to succeed in their careers if they are not having their basic needs met first. Our model meets each Pre-Apprentice where they are, providing multiple tracks to a family-wage career in the trades. We leverage our partnerships to expand our Scholars' network and access to careers in the trades. 

Phase 1:

6-Week Trades Exploration and Employability Training

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Phase 2:

8-Week Intensive Core Crafts Training through Apprenticeship in: 

Bricklayers & Allied Crafts

Roofers & Waterproofing


Associate Controls


Electricians (3 fields)


HVAC Installers

Heavy Equipment Operators



Scaffold Erectors

Sheet Metal Workers

Both phases are pathways towards employment via internship, OJT, FTE or a Postsecondary Degree/Certificate Program.

Certifications to Set You Up for Success

Pathways Pre-apprentices receive six certifications throughout their time in the program: 






OSHA30 (Construction)







Aerial/Scissor Lift

Scholarship Partner Highlight

Don Rupp Craft Scholarship
Est. 2021
The Don Rupp Craft Scholarship honors the legacy of vested IAM member Donald Rupp. This scholarship supports young adults in the Palmer Pathways program pursuing higher education in the trades.
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