Several officials gathered on a ridge of what will be the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway in Lucasville to, highlight the importance of apprenticeships and the growing need for more participants in the programs.
Sharing their experiences about being an apprentice were, Savannah McGuire a second year apprentice, Branden Dingess a first year apprentice and Jonny Evans a third year apprentice. The three apprentices work for Beaver Excavating Company in various roles on the project.
“What we’re doing this week November 14-20 is recognizing apprenticeship in Ohio and even more so, on a national level,” said Vince Irvin, Statewide Apprenticeship Coordinator with the Laborers’ District Council of Ohio.
He said Nov. 14-20 is National Apprenticeship Week and in Ohio.
“We want to bring the spotlight and focus on registered apprenticeship to the community, to the state of Ohio and how important registered apprenticeship is to Ohio’s economy,” Irvin said. “It’s important for moms, dads and kids to realize the significance that registered apprenticeship can play in their lives.”
“I’m just a second year apprentice, I’ve not got much schooling yet. I’ve learned a lot more hands-on, doing different things. They started me out doing walls, they had me on the bridge crew and then I learned different tools in the warehouse and what they are for,” McGuire said.
McGuire said she’s also had the opportunity to visit various parts of the project, getting to learn from each experience.
Jonny Evans said he’s been in the program for five years and the experience has helped him develop certain skills and trades.
“When we come out here we’re what the older guys really on. Every place I’ve gone (to work) I’ve learned a lot,” Evans said.
Dingess said he currently works on an environmental crew, that works to minimize the environmental impact of the project.
Irvin said apprenticeship is the other four year degree.
“You can go to college for four years and learn math or science or you can come out here on the job and learn how to be a union laborer, union carpenter or a union plumber. This is the other four year degree at no additional cost, to these young people,” Irvin said. “They are not haveing to pay for the schooling and education. This is real time, real world education on the job.They are learning along side journeyman and masters of the craft.”
He said there is some classroom time required to learn various aspects of the job.
Irvin also said the money a registered apprentice could earn could provide for a suitable living.
Dusty Sterling, Operations Manager for Beaver Excavating said the work going into the construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway has provided for a lot of opportunities.
“What these guys (apprentices) get out of it (construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway) is important to talk about. There’s a lot of people retiring in the industry, there are more people retiring than there are coming into the trade and with them their knowledge and expertise is leaving,” Sterling said.
He said the industry to trying to gauge what impact the retiring workforce is going to have. He said they are taking a look at the situation to be prepared when the need arises.
Sterling said being able to tap the resources of local unions is a resource to the project and gives local people a place to work.
“At Beaver Excavating we have found… (a) partner in the Ohio Laborers Apprenticeship. Their efforts towards establishing better training programs rooted in the core fundamentals of teaching our industries practices are yielding measurable returns that not only give their participants an opportunity to be successful; it also provides the contractors with the localized skilled forces necessary to compete in today’s market. One of the hardships the construction workers and their families face is being away from their loved ones when travel is called upon for their employment. Being able to draw skilled, qualified workers from local resources is not only critical in allowing today’s employees to have a healthy work life balance (which is more important to this generation than ever before) but it also serves as a competitive advantage,” Sterling said.”The contractors who are able to capitalize on those resources are able to cut down on potential out of town expenses while minimizing the hardships of low morale experienced from employees when a healthy work life balance isn’t being met.”
For more information about registered apprenticeships visit www.ohldc.com.