The Crucible’s graduated learning structure provides opportunities for students to progress through different programs, projects, and classes, which for the most motivated students means pre-apprenticeship training. With more and more of our youth participants remaining engaged with The Crucible for five years or more, we have a greater constituency of older students seeking professional mentorship, advanced skills training, and career readiness programs. In response to this need, a commitment to serving this growing group was built into our organization’s strategic plan. The Crucible’s Pre-Apprentice Program teaches a broad range of metalworking techniques, provides opportunities for public demonstration and community site visits, and builds skills through networking opportunities and collaboration on public art projects.
“I learned the technical aspect of welding and the more industrial fields out there, along with the more artistic side of welding and the sort of business opportunities that I have with that. This program has helped illuminate the amazing opportunities that are out there, where I can actually put my skills to work!”
“An opportunity like this doesn’t come often, so when I was given this chance I took it to heart. From there on I’ve learned so much more about how I can control my welding skills. I love this program because it let me work with my friends as a team. The gate we fabricated gave me joy – I hope the community it goes to feels the same way.”
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Our Pre-Apprentice Program, which runs from October to May, serves four or more students (ages 16-24) each year. Applications open in May for beginning and returning students.
2017 Pre-Apprentice Program Archway
Students participating in our Pre–Apprentice Program in 2017 worked with The Crucible’s Blacksmithing, Machine Shop, and Welding Departments to build an archway for the main student entrance. Each Crucible department is contributing one circle piece to the archway, representing their medium and tools of their discipline. The archway will be installed in December 2017, acting as a testament to the creativity and possibility of our space, students, and faculty.
2017 Pre-Apprentice Spotlight – Pablo Valdez
Pablo Valdez has taken 16 Crucible classes as a scholarship student, was a paid Fuego Leader for two years, and graduated from our Pre-Apprentice Program in 2017. Pablo Valdez now works at The Crucible as a Teaching Assistant in our Blacksmithing and Glass Blowing Departments. At our 2017 Pre-Apprentice reception, he said, “This has made me more of an outgoing person. I was really shy. And The Crucible really opened my mind to more of what I can do.”
2016 Pre-Apprentice Program Sculpture
This sculpture, representing different industrial fabrication tools and techniques, was designed and created by four young adult students in The Crucible’s Pre-Apprentice Program: Katia Navidad (20 years old), Simran Disabar (19 years old), Maliq Nathaniel (20 years old), and Angel Dominguez (18 years old), led by fabricator, instructor, and artist Ben Carpenter. The mild steel was shaped through fabrication techniques including MIG welding, plasma cutting, rolling, and forming, and is a celebration of the industrial arts heritage of West Oakland, where The Crucible is located.
2016 Pre-Apprentice Spotlight – Katia
Originally from Mexico, Katia moved to West Oakland when she was seven years old. As a high school student in the Oakland Unified School district, Katia had priority for Crucible scholarships and was able to take Youth Glass Blowing, Youth Leather Working, and Youth Intro to Welded Sculpture for free. After graduating high school, she applied for The Crucible’s Pre-Apprentice Program, and was part of the group that installed the larger-than-life wrench, torch, and anvil sculpture found in front of our building. “A lot of the people I have met here are just trying to support me and make me get better at many things,” she says. Katia is a considering pursuing a teaching degree so she can become a teacher at Fremont High School, explaining how her time at The Crucible has pushed her in that direction. “I feel like because of all of that support, I can also support other students here in Oakland.”
Watch Our Pre-Apprentices In Action
For over 10 years, Maliq has been learning, making art, and teaching young makers to work with metal at The Crucible.
Community Art Project
Meet a few of our pre-apprentices, Adrian, Jazzy, and Robert, and learn about their public art project for City Slicker Farms.
Since 2008, Robert has been a student, intern, teacher’s assistant, and pre-apprentice at the Crucible, and is a testament to and source of pride for our Youth Program.