Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is an Apprenticeship Program?

The Operating Engineers Local 513 Apprenticeship Program is a three-year program consisting of on- site classroom training and on-the-job training for individuals to become heavy equipment operators and members of Operating Engineers Local 513.  An apprentice is an employee who learns a skilled trade through planned, supervised work on-the-job, while at the same time receiving related technical classroom instruction.  


How do I get into the Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Program?

Our Apprenticeship Applicants must apply in person with a valid driver’s license.  Applicants can come to the training school Monday thru Friday between 8am – 3pm to fill out the application (office is closed from 12:00 – 12:30 for lunch). 

 An applicant must present a valid driver’s license and meet the following:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Be a resident within Local 513’s jurisdiction, which covers the eastern half of Missouri
  • Have a high school diploma or GED (in hand at the Pre-Apprentice meeting)
  • Applicants may apply at the age of 17; however, they must be 18 to enter the program.  The applicant will remain active on the waiting list until they turn 18 years old.

What is the cost?

The cost for our program is very minimal.  There is no cost to apply.  A non-refundable $100.00 registration fee must be paid the at Pre-Apprentice Meeting, which is the start of the selection process.  Once the applicant has passed the selection process and the first training class, apprentices will be taken to the St. Louis Union Hall to purchase their Registered Apprentice Union Card and start payment of monthly union dues.  The cost for the RA card is $100.00 plus three months union dues paid in advance. 

How soon do I start once I apply?

Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance into the apprenticeship (see also What is the Selection Process?).   The selection process happens up to three times a year for applicants, but there is possibly a wait of 12-18 months.


Approximately once a year a survey is conducted by mail and email to determine if applicants are still interested in the program.  Those interested must respond to the survey.  Those who do not respond to the survey will be removed.  Once removed, an applicant must complete a new application and will be placed at the bottom of the list, if still interested. 


What is the selection process?

When there is need for a new class, which is determined by the Apprenticeship Committee, the class will be selected starting in order by application number.  Applicants will ONLY be contacted by mail and email.  The first step in our selection process consists of a Pre-Apprentice Meeting (half day), where the $100 non-refundable fee is due.  If an applicant meets all the requirements, he/she will then move on to Pre-Apprentice Week and attend class at the Training Center for one week.  Applicants will be evaluated and supervised by our instructors to see if they meet Pre-Apprentice Week requirements (meaning they have the necessary skills such as hand/eye coordination, depth perception and have a desire to physically work doing construction labor).  If an applicant passes that week, he/she will be scheduled for Indenture Week where apprentice paperwork is signed. 

Applicants will purchase an Apprentice Union Card upon successful completion of their first training class.  On average, apprentices are scheduled for training 5 to 7 weeks each year.  When apprentices are not in training, they need to be available for dispatch to job sites.


How long is the Program?

The Training Program is a three-year program.  Applicants who are selected to take part in the apprenticeship program will receive a combination of on-the-job training while employed by signatory contractors and related field instruction by the program’s instructors at Silex, Missouri, or where assigned.  The program requires 600 hours of classroom instruction. On average, apprentices are at the Silex Training Center for 5 to 7 weeks each year for training (generally, a 3-week class and a 2 week class).  All apprentices must complete the required performance tests and on-the-job work hours each year, in order to advance to the next level.  Upon satisfactory completion of apprenticeship, apprentices are classified as journeymen under the terms of the contract between the union and employers.  For more information and descriptions of each class please visit the training website:  www.iuoe513.org  click on training.

Is housing available?

Housing is available for apprentices Monday – Thursday while they are attending training at our school.  Our housing is simple dormitory style with three meals per day provided, all at no charge (no housing on weekends).  Housing is not available to applicants until Indenture Week.    

What is the pay?

Apprentices receive a percentage of the current Group 1 rate of pay for Local 513 members:

1st Year – 55% of Journeyman rate

2nd Year – 65% of Journeyman rate

3rd Year – 80% of Journeyman rate

Apprentices receive the same benefits package as Journeymen.  Apprentices do not receive pay for the time they are attending training. Apprentices must be available for work in the trade when not scheduled for training.