Pre-Apprentice Program

With more of our youth participants remaining engaged with The Crucible for five years or more, we have more older students seeking professional mentorship, advanced skills training, and career readiness programs.

In response, 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.


Our Pre-Apprentices worked with the Blacksmithing, Machine Shop, and Welding Departments to build The Pre-Apprentice Portal for the main student entrance. Each Crucible department contributed one circular piece to the portal, representing their medium and tools of their discipline. “The Pre-Apprentice Portal brings art, industry, and community together,” says Chris Neimer, who leads the program. “The PreApprentice Program is a crucial step for the youth enrolled to make a lasting piece of art at The Crucible.”


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.

What They Have To Say

I learned the technical and artistic aspects of welding, along with the business opportunities I have with that. This program has helped illuminate the amazing opportunities out there, where I can actually put my skills to work!

Jazzy Schwinges-Williams

An opportunity like this doesn’t come often, so when I was given this chance I took it to heart. 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.

Adrian Rodriguez

A lot of the people I have met here are just trying to support me and make me get better at many things. I feel like because of all of that support, I can also support other students here in Oakland.

Katia Navidad Rallon

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.

Pablo Valdez

Watch Our Pre-Apprentices In Action

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.

Robert Collins

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.

Maliq Nathaniel

For over 10 years, Maliq has been learning, making art, and teaching young makers to work with metal at The Crucible.

Questions? Contact Us
(510) 444-0919