Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA: 619-997-2495 or

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Apprenticeship Graduation Event Honors New Craft Professionals

Ninety-three percent of Class of 2018 grads are employed in full-time jobs

Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR

(619) 997-2495 or

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Fifty-five apprentices and craft trainees graduated with their apprenticeship and journeyman certificates on Friday, June 8 from the Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Training program, and will be back at work Monday as full-time employed craft professionals.

Graduates in five craft professions (plumbing and pipefitting, electrical, electronic systems technician or sheet metal) must successfully complete a challenging state and federally approved apprenticeship program or craft training program to receive their journeyman status in California. They work for San Diego area contractors full time as part of their training requirements.

Apprentices attend courses after work several nights each week, putting in lab time mastering skills in their specific field. Their course of study lasts three to five years. All graduates earned college credits through the San Diego Community College District, which can be applied toward an Associate of Science degree.

Special awards recognizing exceptional achievements were presented to the following students.

2018 Outstanding Graduates of the Year

The three graduates honored completed their entire training program with a straight A average all four years, and no absences from any classes or lab work. They also received positive employer evaluations. All three competed in the ABCSD local Craft Championships competition. Stuart took first place and represented San Diego at the ABC National Craft Championship competition.

  • Courtney Cain, Jr., Electrical Apprentice, Bergelectric

  • Kevin Fortney, Electrical Apprentice, Rowan Electric

  • Joshua Stuart, Electrical Apprentice, Bergelectric

2018 Academic Achievement Graduates

All achieved straight A grade averages during their entire training program.

  • Joshua S. Norman, Electrical Apprentice, employed by Rowan Electric

  • Jason J. Shockley, Electrical Apprentice, employed by Laser Electric

  • Roy T. Wilson, Electrical Apprentice, employed by Ickler Electric

  • Brad D. Benedict, Plumbing Apprentice, employed by R&M Plumbing Contractors

2018 Perfect Attendance Graduates

All achieved zero absences during their entire three to five year training program.

  • Kory H. Jensen, Electrical Apprentice, employed by Stronhold Engineering

  • Aaron D. Clarke, Plumbing Apprentice, employed by Industrial Commercial Systems

  • Gabriel A. Avila Cuenca, Plumbing Apprentice, employed by David Mechanical

  • Samuel Bacling, Sheet Metal Apprentice, employed by Certified Air Conditioning

Dylan Conforth (above) was named the 2018 Instructor of the Year. His selection is based on student evaluations and overall performance. Conforth has been an instructor in the Electrical program since 2015. Conforth continually pushes himself to improve him teaching skills. He relates well to the students and finds ways to motivate them in the classroom and in the labs. Students say he is always willing to stay late if students need help. Students said the following about Conforth:

  • “He gives advice for the job, that is a huge help.”

  • “He is very helpful in labs, and willing to show examples and help everyone.”

  • “Dylan’s trade experience makes him a valuable instructor.”

  • “Hands down, one of the best! We all relate as he teaches us. He makes the class fun and that makes everybody eager to learn.”

  • “It is important to be able to accomplish good rapport with the students, and Dylan can establish that with each, and every student.”

“We want to let our graduates know how much we admire the drive and work ethic it takes to complete our program, and become part of the merit shop construction industry in San Diego,” said ABC San Diego President & CEO Shandon Harbour. “For the last four years they have almost literally worked day and night to successfully complete the requirements of this challenging curriculum.

“Their investment pays off as professionals. Our graduates are ready, willing and able to provide their employers the competent and productive workforce ABC’s contractor members require in order to compete and thrive in today’s business environment,” added Harbour.

ABC San Diego’s training program has been awarded Accredited Training Sponsor Status from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), assuring all its members of nationally recognized training for their craft professionals. NCCER is a nonprofit education foundation created to develop standardized construction, maintenance, and pipeline curricula with portable credentials and help address the critical skilled workforce shortage. NCCER is affiliated with the University of Florida's M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction.

In 1970, 30 percent of the nation's construction was performed merit shop and six of the top 400 construction firms were ABC members. Today, merit shops accounts for 85 percent of all construction across the country, and ABC's membership has grown to include more than half of the top 400 construction companies in the United States.

About ABC San Diego

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. The San Diego Chapter of ABC represents construction and construction-related firms throughout San Diego County. To find out more about ABCSD, visit


ABCSD  I  13825 Kirkham Way Poway, CA 92064  I  Tel: 858.513.4700  I  Fax: 858.513.2373  I  I

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