Apprenticeship Program

About the Apprenticeship


What you will get:

100% Human Powered Model- Includes frameset, powdercoating and components. Container /platform and electic assist extra. Many options available.

A training. You will learn from master machinists, experienced welders, designers, fixture makers, sewing people, and entrepreneurs. You will learn these skills well enough to start your own enterprise.

A complete TriHauler ( electric assist and platform extra). This trike has been proven through daily usage- through many styles of riding, many different kinds of loads, and all kinds of weather. It has evolved and improved over a 35 year period. Check out our other business: Pedalers Express

A review of your business plan and a design for your particular use. If we have time during or after the 4 months we will build it ( for a fair fee and with your direct involvement).

An experience. We have learned a lot over the last 25 years. And Jan has been at it even longer- since the 80’s. A training, a Cargo Trike, a plan and a container are great – but the understanding of how change happens- well that can apply to anything.

Join us! Register Now!

Applications are currently being accepted for The Winter 2017 session.

First, email or call 541-683-3397 (Tues.- Sat. 12-6) to make sure we still have an opening. We are limiting the program to three participants. Programs are offered on a space-available basis to qualified applicants. Our main criteria for acceptance are enthusiasm, agreement with our philosophy, sincere interest in starting a business based on our evolving business /social model, and a willingness to join in a cooperative learning experience.

If we have an opening, we ask for a Formal Resume and Letter of Intent that should include:
1. Your skills, history, and anything else you consider important.
2. Briefly tell us why you would like to be considered for a position in the program.
3. How do you feel about living in an intentional community/group setting? Are you open to helping with household responsibilities (for example, cooking a meals/doing dishes and daily chores)?
4. What are your other options if this doesn’t work.
5. Tell us of some possession you have that someone made for you or you made yourself and why that may be of importance to you.
6. The phone numbers of three references.
7. How did you learn about CAT?

You may apply by completing the Application Form and returning it by mail. Send your application form, resume, letter of intent and processing fee of $25 ( Non- refundable) to:

Attn: Apprenticeship Program Coordinator
455 W. 1st Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at
Applications are currently being accepted.

Upon reviewing your application form, resume, and letter of intent, we’ll talk with you by phone. You may expect a decision within one week. If you’re accepted you will need to send a $1500 deposit within 48 hours. We accept personal checks, Visa, Discover or MasterCard (if you pay by card there is a 3% suggested donation as we don’t include card fees in our tuition). Call our retail store, Eugene Bicycle Works (541-683-3397, Tues- Sat 12-6) if you wish to make payment via card. The remainder of the fee should be paid a week before the program begins.

Phone us to confirm you have mailed your fees and deposits. When we receive your tuition deposit and housing deposit we will call you to confirm your placement.

Fees /Deposits/ Refunds 2017

Refunds and Cancellations

We will have an evaluation at the end of the 1st month. If this placement is not in the best interests of both student and Center we will refund the fee minus the Non Refundable Deposit of $1500. We will not give any refund after the 1st month. In the unusual event that CAT cancels the Program, deposits and fees will be promptly refunded.

Housing: Facilities, Accommodations and Location

We are located in the heart of Eugene, near city parks, bike paths, and downtown.
CAT is located in the very bicycle-friendly city of Eugene, Oregon (and don’t tell anyone- it doesn’t rain as much as its reputation). The city is also noted for its natural beauty, activism/ political leanings, alternative lifestyles, recreational opportunities (especially rafting and kayaking), and focus on the arts. CAT is located very close to Amtrak and Greyhound, and Eugene is also served by a regional airport.
We provide accommodations for participants, including utilities. This includes a shared living space with one private room and 2 semi-private. There is a shared bathroom.
We have a common kitchen with stove, refrigerator, food storage area, high-quality kitchenware and a large dining table. We don’t use a microwave, we buy organic, we do recycle, etc. Because the kitchen is certified, all apprentices must get a food handlers license. This is especially important for those of you who want to understand the food vending business and restaurant industry for your project. We will have an instructor who will be providing classes in culinary arts.
We will have group meals for dinner with breakfast and lunch left to the choice of individuals. Food will be supplemented by a “work for food” program with our local Skinner City Farm partnership. A community garden of the City of Eugene, SCF shares office space at CAT. You as an apprentice have access to food from the garden plots (¼ of an acre) during the growing season (long). This is an integral part of the apprenticeship program and requires up to 3 hours per week.

You will be living and working with like-minded individuals and when the apprenticeship is complete, you will have created a community of social entrepreneurs. It is our hope that the strong relationships you build will continue and be the basis for the Human Powered Network. You/we are stronger as a community than as individuals; this is a fundamental value of CAT.

We have high speed internet, computers, solar hot water, solar electric panels, inside bike parking, one bathroom with shower/tub upstairs and a public bathroom downstairs. We try to conserve energy.
We operate out of an 8000 square foot facility on the edge of commercial and residential zoning. Located within ¼ mile of the Amtrak station, two blocks from the prominent butte, and two blocks from the famous river bike paths, CAT is in an ideal location for a car-free life. Buses go from Eugene to the McKenzie River (for $3.75 round trip) and Oakridge ($5 round trip). Both areas are superb examples of Oregon’s outdoors. There are many local businesses and coffee shops within walking/biking distance. We call our neighborhood the “Inebriation District” due to the large number of distilleries, wineries, breweries, and smoke shops– so have fun (responsibly).
No cars permitted. When you are in bike heaven why bring a car into it? Kindly leave your pets at home.

If you have your own housing talk with us and we can try to work something out.


The appropriate in Center for Appropriate Transport encapsulates our philosophy. The term comes from the appropriate technology movement which came into prominence during the 1973 energy crisis and the environmental movement of the 1970s. The term is typically used to describe the utilization of the most effective technology to address a need (Wiki).  In relationship to tools examples of “inappropriate” might be pruning a rose bush with a chainsaw or to going one block to the store by car.

Educational Philosophy

The educational philosophy at CAT is embodied in the apprenticeship model that has been practiced through the ages. Watch, do, and teach.
Accumulate knowledge but don’t hoard it.
Knowledge is as valuable to give away as money (there are many kinds of philanthropy).

Fiscal Philosophy

Simplify and conserve.
Question where money comes from! For example, CAT tries to prioritize its sources of income. In order of priority (emphasizing local sources first), CAT is funded via:
Income from its services and products
Grants from local organizations, foundations, government, and corporations
Grants from national corporations, and state and federal government
In our history, the majority of our income has come from the services we provide to our local community and the products we make. We have gotten almost every grant we have applied for (about a dozen) and used those funds primarily for capital expenses (income-generating equipment).
Our building rent is about 1/3 of current market levels, but it covers all the owner’s costs, including property taxes. CAT employees and volunteers do most of the building’s maintenance; while the owner is responsible for larger projects (exterior painting, structural repairs, and so on).

Organizational Philosophy

The inspiration for our program and organizational approach comes from the following:

Decentralization / Distributed production and life

We live in a centralized obsessed world, from manufacturing to governance- you name it- bigger is presumed to be better.. We recognize the difficulties of DYI, cooperation and networking but feel strongly that the ways to decentralization are available if we just redirect the focus. We aim to bring the values and benefits of decentralization to the forefront. We hope to show models and inspire. We especially want to relate to scale issues in service, production and manufacturing. Rather than having large companies with excessive hierarchy we are interested in small shops that are interconnected with democratic decision-making.
What is the most decentralized, democratic process you’ve been a part of or heard of?

Social Enterprise

Social enterprises are social mission driven organizations which trade in goods or services for a social purpose. Their aim to accomplish targets that are social and environmental as well as financial is often referred to as having a triple bottom line. Social enterprises are profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social or environmental purpose is central to what they do. Rather than maximizing shareholder value, their main aim is to generate profit to further their social and environmental goals. Call them ‘for more-than-profit’.


We broadly define Microfranchises as small businesses that can easily be replicated by following proven marketing and operational concepts. The overall objective of Microfranchising is to promote economic development by developing sound business models that can be replicated by entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid; therefore, the start-up costs of Microfranchises will be minimal. The key principle is replication, replicating success to scale.

Social Franchising

Social franchises are a critical new stage in the evolution of social enterprise. They bring together proven business models and corporate expertise with the nonprofit organizations that are often a community’s more committed stakeholders.

Flexible Manufacturing Network (FMN)

FMN means a group of firms working cooperatively to (A) manufacture products, (B) sell, market, develop technologies for or create or disseminate information concerning manufactured products or (C) provide manufacturing support services for such firms.

Community Supported Agriculture

CSA is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee. In turn, members receive a weekly share of the harvest. This concept allows the producer to price according to their true costs through an open bookkeeping/ budget process and allows the consumer to pay the true costs. This versus a reliance on the oftentimes false pricing of the market system (ie., price per pound based on large agribusiness). CST anyone? Community Supported Transport.

Brief history of the origin of CAT and HPM

The inspiration for CAT comes from projects seen in Western Europe in the early 1980s. While living in Switzerland, Jan VanderTuin helped to found a cooperative farm project that was the precursor to a CSA farm. At the time, the “death of the forests” was of great concern to many Europeans, and the group Topinambur wanted to do something about it.
They sent Jan across Europe to search for the best pedal powered solution for transporting their produce from the farm into the city of Zurich. A former bike racer, Jan was aware of the potential of human power and from this research designed and built heavy duty cargo trailers for use by the farm coop. This was the beginning of his life-long passion for cargo vehicles and ultimately this program.
During his time researching cargo vehicles in Europe, Jan VanderTuin saw centers, often times former industrial buildings, that were converted for multiple usages. One place that really inspired him was a cooperative in Frankfurt Germany that had a café, a woodworking business and other enterprises, all sharing space under one roof. The enterprise that really got his attention there was a bike fabrication shop that included teaching young people fabrication skills. They made all sorts of pedal powered vehicles and Jan was taught brazing by a 17 year old student. He was hooked, not only by the products but by the process as well. He became convinced that products incorporating sustainable, deep processes in their making are the preferable kind to fabricate and to own. He also became convinced that diversity of product and activities by one enterprise was healthier than a monoculture production- especially when there is a networking of these enterprises.

Click Here for a Few Words from Past Apprentices