Laborers in the Construction Industry: aka the “Backbone”

Hugo de la Torre, Director of Apprenticeship at NorCal Laborers, takes pride in the work that he does and says that being a Laborer is one of the most integral, versatile, and diverse roles one can be a part of. Simply put – they are the backbone of the construction industry!


In Hugo’s Q&A, he shares how laborers are crucial in any project’s successes, and from start to finish, each job focuses on prioritizing innovation and technological improvements for years to come. Read on for more of Hugo’s insights!


Q: How are you changing the perception of Laborers in the Construction Industry, to show that they do more than just dig ditches and move things around?

A: I believe that our work speaks for itself. The wide scope of projects that you find our members working on shows that the Laborers not only dig trenches. Perceptions of our craft are rooted in old biases. We don’t concern ourselves too much with those outdated biases.


Q: Where do you feel that the Laborers fit in the ecosystem of the industry?

A: The Laborer has an integral role in any construction project. Whether it’s the building foundation concrete pours, underground utilities, or transportation infrastructure, you’ll find our members from the first phases of construction projects until the completion of the project.


Q: Where do you see the future of the Laborers going?

A: Our organization always has an eye to the future. Keeping up with the latest innovations. Recently the use of exoskeleton suits and how the Laborers will utilize that technology on construction projects was discussed.


Q: Tell us about your training center(s) and what the apprenticeship process looks
like for Laborers?

A: For decades our Training Center (and remote training sites) has been providing our members with the core safety skills needed for this industry. In addition, we offer recertification courses for tools and equipment for our members’ continued education.


Q: What is your favorite part about working with Laborers and the construction
industry as a whole?

A: My favorite part, without a doubt, is the sense of family our organization has. All throughout, not just Northern California. The Laborers are a diverse and dynamic international organization.


As far as working in the industry goes…I love it! I grew up in a union household, many of my friends work in the trades. I didn’t attend college so joining a union and completing an apprenticeship set my foundation and opened opportunities for me. I owe a lot to the industry and hopefully, I can give back in some way.


So, let’s take a moment to recognize the diligence, perseverance, and dedication it takes to be a laborer! Has Hugo inspired you to get after your construction journey? Take a look at Becoming an Apprentice to get started!



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