Home Careers New Podcast Episode: Building America and Talking Construction Careers

New Podcast Episode: Building America and Talking Construction Careers

Union Carpenter Bradley Bearden Discusses Industry Opportunities

Construction careers offer a number of great opportunities for men and women throughout the country and right here in California. So how old do you think you have to be to get started? Would you believe just 17? On the newest episode of The Rebuild SoCal Zone podcast, Bradley Bearden, apprentice at Martin Brothers, talks about the project he’s working on and the wealth of experience he has gained at just 20 years old. 

Bearden’s life is much like many teens in SoCal who realized college isn’t something he wanted, but wasn’t sure about how to build a future. During this episode hosted by Rebuild SoCal Partnership’s Carol Church, listeners can gain insight on how to join a union, earn a good wage (with benefits), and find a career to be passionate about.

Getting started

During his junior year of high school, Bradley Bearden thought he might join the Marines and then later figure out a life’s plan. Bearden’s father, who works at a power tool company, asked his son if maybe he wanted to join the Carpenters’ Union. “I  honestly had no idea what that was,” Bearden admits.

So he walked to the union hall and after filling out some paperwork and attending a two-day training, he got to work. “From that point on, I fell in love with it, and I’ve been doing it for two years now.”

He encourages others to consider a career in the trades where it’s possible to advance from pre-apprentice to apprentice and then journeyman to foreman and up to superintendent. “You learn on the jobsite and then you go to school,” he explains, “every six months I go to school [and] I get a bump up in my [apprentice] stage.”

Learn as you earn

Bearden explains that he was employed even before he joined the union. One of the first memories is also one of his favorites. “When I joined the trade, I went to the roof of the building I was working on. My partner told me, count all the cranes. I counted 32 cranes in downtown L.A. and that is a lot of work going on.” There’s also a lot more construction on the horizon over the next seven years as the city prepares to host the 2028 Olympics.

Martin Brothers has a history of building legendary projects such as SoFi Stadium, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, to name a few. Bearden is currently working on a project in Burbank near Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon studios.

Sometimes he can’t believe the fact that he’s got a job on a project that can keep him busy for another year and a half to three years. Plus, there’s the fact that he has benefits and a great salary. “That’s the craziest thing. I was talking with one of my family members and they asked me how much I make. I told them and they told me theirs. I am making half of theirs. They went to college and got their masters. I’m only half-way through an apprenticeship.”

Passion and pride

It’s been said that when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Bearden is acquiring skill sets he knows he will use over a lifetime. Right now, he enjoys soffit work and recognizes his role is part of something bigger and takes pride in the work, “That’s my favorite thing to do,” he says about driving past the construction site, “I love taking people to show them what I’ve done.”

With his other union brothers and sisters, they all have a drive to work hard. On long and tough days, Bearden says they bolster each other, “You’ll hear someone say, ‘but who’s going to build America?’”

He says that when you become a part of the union, you stand as a group and the leadership asks, “Whose job?” only for the group to respond, “Our job!” Because it’s not just about today’s project, he notes, “I’m not just building this building and then I’m done. I’m building America.”

More to come

Rebuild SoCal Partnership is now launching two new podcast episodes a month! Sign up now to get alerted every time a new episode drops. 

Click to listen now on iTunes or Spotify and hear the full conversation with Martin Brothers Union Carpenter Bradley Bearden. Find other past episodes of The Rebuild SoCal Zone podcast.


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