Skilled Trades Trainee, Rebuild

  • Various job sites, Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • Contract

Company Description


With a workforce of over 30,000 people, and opportunities in more than 1,000 different job categories, the City of Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the United States and one of the largest employers in Southeastern Pennsylvania. As an employer, the City of Philadelphia operates through the guiding principles of service, integrity, respect, accountability, collaboration, diversity and inclusion. Through these principles, we strive to effectively deliver services, to resolve the challenges facing our city, and to make Philadelphia a place where all of our residents have the opportunity to reach their potential.


Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. A signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney as part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion programs. Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

As part of these efforts, Rebuild is piloting two workforce development programs:

  • The PHL Pipeline, a training-intensive program which prepares entry-level candidates to successfully transition into registered union apprenticeships
  • The PRA Talent Development Program, which places qualified candidates into union apprenticeships through positions at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA)

Trainees will assist a journey-level trades worker while learning a trade through a combination of on-the-job training and formal instruction, provided by Rebuild and affiliated unions. Trainees are expected to learn by observing, assisting, and performing assignments according to detailed instructions.

Job Description

Rebuild is currently recruiting individuals interested in careers in painting, cement masonry, and roofing. As demand grows on Rebuild construction sites, other trades will be added to the program at a later date.

Successful candidates interested in painting will be enrolled in a paid pre-apprenticeship in advance of the 2020 apprenticeship class offered by the Finishing Trades Institute of DC 21 (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades). This union offers career pathways in commercial paint and wallcovering, drywall finishing, glazing, industrial painting, and multi-craft decorating.

 Successful candidates interested in cement masonry or roofing will be enrolled in state-registered paid apprenticeships through the related union and will work either with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority or with union contractors.

Assignments are well defined in nature. Tasks become more complex as the trainee progresses in skill. Work involves moderate physical efforts on a continuous basis and some undesirable working conditions (e.g., working outdoors in cold or hot temperatures) that can be controlled by precautionary methods or devices. Work is performed under the continuous supervision of a full-performance trades professional.

Program benefits:

  • Paid training from day one
  • Hands-on occupational training with a journey-level instructor
  • Career management tools and resources
  • Professional coaching


  • Participate actively in training as prescribed by the organization, assigned journeyperson, or trades instructor
  • Perform elementary trade tasks using the tools, equipment, and materials of the trade under supervision
  • Arrive on time and ready to work for each assignment
  • Perform other tasks incidental to the mastery of trade fundamentals


Under continuous close supervision, Skilled Trades Trainees will be introduced to the basic skills of the targeted trade.


The first priority of painters is to prepare surfaces for finishes to be applied. Some of the processes that are used are: wash, scrape, wire brush or sand the surface and, in some cases, use chemicals, electric scrapers, sandblasters or blowtorches to remove old paint. It is the job of the applicator to sand any irregularities, fill cracks and holes, and remove excess dirt and grease. Painters use three major tools to apply paints and coatings: the spray gun, the roller, and the brush. The skilled painter knows and uses what is best for each job. Although some painters do all types of painting, most specialize in one type, such as interior or exterior work, new construction, signs, remodeling, particular structures and buildings (apartments, homes, bridges, water tanks, structural steel), special effects and decorative designs, metal surfaces, or transportation equipment. Painters may also estimate material, time and cost of each job, produce decorative designs, restore natural wood color by bleaching or refinishing, or apply special coatings.

Cement Masonry

Cement masonry is among the oldest trades in the construction industry, dating back centuries. Their work can be seen in historic buildings as well as structures being developed today. Cement masons use concrete, which is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water, to finish concrete walls and floors for high-rise buildings, stadiums, and a host of other commercial and multi-dwelling structures. Most of today’s high-rise buildings are made entirely of steel-reinforced concrete and cement masons are the men and women who create the walls, floors, ceilings, and exteriors.  There is more to this work than laying cement. Cement masons must make sure cement is aligned with other parts of the structure and that it is perfectly smooth. As a cement mason, you will learn screeding, the process of cutting off excess concrete to bring the top surface of a slab to proper grade, and floating, creating a smooth surface. Properly trained cement masons are able to create durable surfaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and resistant to cracking.


Roofers install and remove roofs on buildings and other structures to make them waterproof and weatherproof.  They may also waterproof or damp-proof walls and other building surfaces.

Roofers may also use materials such as: composition shingles, tile, slate, EPDM (ethylene, propylene, diene, terpolymer) membrane, PVC (polyvinyl chloride systems), butyl rubber, PIB (polyisobutylene), CPE (chlorosulfonated polyethylene), ECB (ethylene copolymer bitumen and anthracite dusts), and modified bitumens. Roofers prepared some roofing materials by cutting roofing paper, shingles, or sheet to size and by punching, perforating, or shaping shingles, sheets, slate, or flashing.  They align roofing material with the edge of the roof and overlap successive layers, fastening them with asphalt cement or nails.

To install composition roofs, the roofer places overlapping strips of asphalt or impregnated felt on the roof, and applies coats of coal tar pitch or asphalt, to the surface. To waterproof, the Roofer removes rough projections and roughs glazed surfaces, using hammer and chisel and applies waterproofing solution. Tools used by Roofers include hammers, roofing knives, pincers, and caulking guns.  Modern equipment has lessened the physical exertion formerly required.


Trades work is strenuous work, requiring much walking, standing, reaching, kneeling, stooping, climbing and carrying. Work is often done outdoors in all kinds of weather except when conditions are very severe.  Occupational hazards include the risk of falls from ladder or scaffolds, lime burns of the hands or the eyes, and skin or throat irritations. Exterior trades workers lose some worktime each year due to bad weather. Trades workers who work primarily on new construction may lose worktime during slowdowns in construction activity.


Trades workers must have manual dexterity as well as steady nerves to work in high places. They should not be allergic to paint fumes, toxic materials, or spray dust. An artistic sense, good eyesight, and a sense of color are necessary to do a first-class job. Trades workers should have no fear of height, a good sense of balance, and a better-than-average sense of safety for themselves and their co-workers.  They should enjoy working with their hands and accept working outdoors, sometimes under unpleasant working conditions.



  • Ability to learn the basic tasks of a specific trade
  • Ability to observe skilled tradesworkers and assist in accomplishing tasks under supervision
  • Ability to perform tasks requiring mechanical aptitude
  • Knowledge of arithmetic computations as may be required in trade work
  • Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions
  • Ability to engage in strenuous physical work


 Education & Training

  • Education equivalent to completion of high school, whether with a diploma or GED

 Physical & Medical Requirements

  • Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the required environmental conditions

Licenses, Registrations, and/or Certificates

  • Possession of a valid driver's license as issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to appointment and during tenure as a trainee
  • Must be able to demonstrate Philadelphia residency
  • Ability to pass a drug screening

Additional Information


Rebuild does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion/creed, gender, gender expression, age, national origin/ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of vendors, and project management and oversight. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, partners, contractors, and vendors. Women, people of color, LGBTQ applicants, and all who feel they are underrepresented in the trades are welcomed and encouraged to apply.