Skip to main content

Maine Kicks Off National Apprenticeship Week with Visit to IBEW 1253’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program in Newport

Andy O’Brien
18 Nov, 2022
Social share icons

Maine Department of Labor Commissioner, Laura Fortman, IBEW 1253 Apprenticeship Director, George Howe and pre-apprenticeship students from Nokomis Regional High spoke at a press conference Tuesday at IBEW 1253's Training Center in Newport to kick off National Apprenticeship Week. Governor Janet Mills has signed a proclamation for this year’s celebration, to be recognized November 14-20.

IBEW 1253 – Augusta Electrical JATC, launched the North American Building Trades (NABTU) multi-craft core curriculum pre-apprenticeship program with local high school students this fall — a first in Maine — as part of a collaborative project with the Maine AFL-CIO and the Maine Building and Construction Trades Council.

In this pre-apprenticeship program, 19 Nokomis Regional High students meet every other day to learn a variety of trade skills while exploring the various careers within construction, all while developing life and career readiness. These students will be provided a pathway to a wide variety of careers in construction, clean energy, and manufacturing.

“For the first time in Maine, the Maine AFL-CIO, in conjunction with IBEW 1253 – Augusta Electrical JATC, launched a multi-craft core curriculum pre-apprenticeship program with local high school students,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said. “These students are being provided a clear pathway to a wide variety of careers in construction, clean energy, and manufacturing.”

As part of the Plan, the Maine AFL-CIO received grant funding earlier this year to develop and expand three pre-apprenticeship programs such as this one. The Maine AFL-CIO and the 13 other grantees will create opportunities for 2,000 pre-apprentices and 1,000 registered apprentices through December 2024.

Union apprenticeships in particular are a pathway to a well-paying career and financial stability. Average starting salary after completing a registered apprenticeship is $77,000.

The Commissioner’s remarks were joined by remarks from pre-apprentice Jillian Rackliff, Michael Hammer, Superintendent of RSU 19, Micah Cram, a representative of Larkin Enterprises and a former apprentice himself, and George Howe, Training Director for IBEW 1253. The Commissioner was then able to visit the classrooms where pre-apprentices were practicing first aide skills and learning how to wire a ground-fault circuit interrupter.