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Career and Education Opportunities for Steel Workers in San Jose, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for steel workers in the San Jose, California area. There are currently 5,100 working steel workers in California; this should grow by 8% to 5,500 working steel workers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for steel workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.4% over the next eight years. Steel workers generally raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks.

Steel workers earn about $26 per hour or $55,190 annually on average in California and about $20 per hour or $43,010 per year on average nationally. Incomes for steel workers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Metal Working and Welding in California, and not quite as good as the overall Metal Working and Welding category nationally.

The San Jose area is home to fifty-nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of San Jose where you can get a degree as a steel worker. The most common level of education for steel workers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a steel worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Steel Worker

Steel Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, steel workers raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. They also may erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

Steel workers connect columns and girders with bolts, following blueprints and instructions from supervisors. They also fasten structural-steel members to hoist cables, using chains, cables, or rope. Equally important, steel workers have to bolt aligned structural-steel members in position for permanent riveting or welding into position. They are often called upon to pull or pry structural-steel members into approximate positions for bolting into position. They are expected to hoist steel beams and columns into position, using cranes, or signal hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural-steel members. Finally, steel workers force structural-steel members into final positions, using turnbuckles, crowbars, jacks, and hand tools.

Every day, steel workers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to control objects and devices with precise control. It is also important that they coordinate both hands in a single activity.

It is important for steel workers to ride on girders or other structural-steel members to place them, or use rope to guide them into position. They are often called upon to dismantle structures and equipment. They also erect metal and precast concrete components for structures such as buildings and highway guard rails. They are sometimes expected to drive drift pins through rivet holes so as to align rivet holes in structural-steel members with corresponding holes in previously placed members. Somewhat less frequently, steel workers are also expected to verify vertical and horizontal arrangement of structural-steel members, using plumb bobs and/or levels.

Steel workers sometimes are asked to position blocks under reinforcing bars used to reinforce floors. They also have to be able to insert sealing strips and valves, depending on types of structures being assembled and hold rivets while riveters use air-hammers to fashion heads on rivets. And finally, they sometimes have to hoist steel beams and columns into position, using cranes, or signal hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural-steel members.

Like many other jobs, steel workers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Jose include:

  • Sheet Metal Worker. Fabricate, assemble, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, and furnace casings. Work may involve any of the following: setting up and operating fabricating machines to cut, bend, and straighten sheet metal; shaping metal over anvils, blocks, or forms using hammer; operating soldering and welding equipment to join sheet metal parts; inspecting, assembling, and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Steel Worker Training

CET-Watsonville - Watsonville, CA

CET-Watsonville, 10 Blanca Lane, Watsonville, CA 95076. CET-Watsonville is a small school located in Watsonville, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 151 students. CET-Watsonville has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

LICENSES

Reinforcing Steel Contractor

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Contractors State License Board, 9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827

Phone: (916) 255-3900
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board

Structural Steel Contractor

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Contractors State License Board, 9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827

Phone: (916) 255-3900
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Jose, California

San Jose, California
San Jose, California photo by Leslie

San Jose is situated in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 948,279, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Jose, 163, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Jose are priced at $163,800 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred fourteen new homes were built in San Jose, down from three hundred twenty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Jose are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 31.6% of San Jose residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Jose is 13.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Jose residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Almaden Hill United Methodist Church, Almaden Valley United Methodist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in San Jose. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

San Jose is home to the Evergreen Ranch and the Rosegarden Branch San Jose Public Library as well as Almaden Winery Park and Albertson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Almaden Plaza Shopping Center, Almaden Via Valiente Plaza Shopping Center and Foxworthy Shopping Center. Visitors to San Jose can choose from Atrium Gardens, Best Western Airport Plaza and Best Western Inn Airport Plaza for temporary stays in the area.