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NH Workforce Development Leaders Mark National Apprenticeship Week at Local Clean Energy Company

Brentwood, NH – On Thursday, November 16th, ReVision Energy hosted a special Apprentice Appreciation event with state leaders in business, labor, and education, as well as local solar apprentices, at the company’s Brentwood, New Hampshire office and warehouse. The event came just in time for the U.S. Department of Labor’s third annual National Apprenticeship Week, a nationwide effort to promote a highly-skilled workforce that can meet the talent needs of employers across a wide range of industries.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, NH Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs, Electrical Contractors Business Association, International Association of Electrical Inspectors Local 490, Lakes Region Community College, and Dover Career Technical Center attended to show their support for the local apprentices and encourage more young people and businesses to take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities. In addition to formal presentations, the public event included tours of the ReVision Energy office and warehouse, and refreshments.

“Like many organizations and businesses across the country, ReVision Energy has faced a shortage of skilled workers to power the clean energy transition and bring down electricity costs for everyone,” said James Hasselbeck, Operations Manager for ReVision Energy. “Our apprenticeship program is a direct response to that challenge and we are seeing first-hand the unique value that apprentices bring to our industry and the larger workforce.”

Hasselbeck added that ReVision Energy’s state-registered apprenticeship program combines on-the-job training and classroom-based instruction toward certification in a valuable trade as an electrician or plumber. All costs associated with training and certification are covered by the employer and apprentices earn a paycheck throughout their four-year training process.

Several of ReVision Energy’s current and former apprentices spoke at the event alongside local business and community leaders. Carley Williams, a solar installer, project manager, and current electrical apprentice, said she strives to set an example for others, especially women interested in trade careers.

“It’s very important for people to see that it’s possible,” Williams said, noting that oftentimes profitable and meaningful careers like solar installation and electrical work are not necessarily promoted as an option for women.

“Unfortunately, many women and men don’t realize that these apprenticeship opportunities are out there,” added Nathan Poland, ReVision Energy’s Electrical Coordinator and former apprentice. Poland noted that the average electrical apprentice completes his or her program with a certification, a job, no college debt, and an average starting salary of $50,000 a year. Many apprentices also attend college before or after their program, which puts them in an even stronger position to grow in their career.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) reports that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity. They also enjoy better recruitment rates and reduced turnover as apprentices have the opportunity to advance in their field. For their part, apprentices receive a debt-free education in valuable skills, and have a much higher rate of finding a job immediately after graduating.

In 2016, DOL reported that NH had 2,071 active apprentices in 213 registered programs, which can be sponsored by the government, institutions, or private businesses. ReVision Energy currently has 12 apprentices and has had over 20 since the start of their program in 2012.

Lauren Smith, the State Director of the Office of Apprenticeship of the DOL, said that demand for the programs is increasing, and they are expanding even beyond trades. She noted the Community College System of NH recently received a federal grant to expand their apprenticeship programs and praised local businesses for hiring apprentices and providing the necessary mentorship and support.

“When I hear the stories tonight, I am excited to hear that [the apprenticeship programs] are working,” Smith concluded.

For Heather Iworsky, ReVision Energy’s Brentwood Branch Manager, apprenticeships are part of the company’s DNA. “We are a local business committed to providing good jobs, a fun atmosphere, and great culture, and we want to celebrate our apprentices and show people in the community that you can ‘stay, work, and play’ right here in New Hampshire,” Iworsky said.

Ironworker Apprentice Praises Building Pathways Program For Changing Her Life

Last week the Building Trades Unions celebrated National Apprentice Week and specifically the inaugural National Women in Apprenticeship Day.

On National Women in Apprenticeship Day, Annastashia Parke, stop to take the time to tell her story about changing her life’s direction and beginning a new career as an Ironworker.  Below is her post.

Annastashia Parke

Where do I even begin? First off: Happy National Women in Apprenticeship Day! And Happy National Apprentice Week!

Ladies, many of you whom I have met inspire me in so many ways – and I am grateful to call you sisters. I also want to thank my brothers in Local Seven for their graciousness and patience with all of us apprentices. That being said, this is my story.

I was 23 and divorced, and faced with the reality that I spent so long putting my ex-husband’s dreams before my own – and now I was stuck in dead end jobs and had no real pathway to a career and no true way to provide for myself.

What’s worse is: I had a college degree, but if I wanted to do anything in the field I had studied, I still need a master’s degree – which would be about another $40,000 dollars, which I didn’t have.

I had grown very close over the years with my ex-husband’s parents and, as odd as it may sound, they took me in. They are the most amazing people and have always looked at me like their own daughter.

My mom always was very politically active and just happened to follow Governor Hassan’s Facebook page, and she came across a new program called “Building Pathways New Hampshire.”

This program was just starting up, and its goal was to get more women into the trades. I knew very little about unions and exactly how many trades there were, but as my mom pointed out I was very good with my hands and loved seeing tasks completed. So I went to an informational session, which was the minimum requirement in order to apply to the program. I was a little nervous as they were only accepting thirteen applicants. I am thrilled to say I got in.

Flash forward past an interview and an evaluation day and I was being shown a world that suddenly gave me a great sense of hope and pride. I was gaining skills to become an apprentice in whatever field I choose to apply to. We had seventeen different trades workers come and talk to us about their craft. One struck me more than anything, and that was the Ironworkers of Local Seven. I knew I had to get in. I was in love with it from the start.

I managed to get an interview with the apprenticeship coordinator for Local Seven. He kept asking me, “are you sure?” For once, I could truly answer “yes” every time without hesitation. At the end he said “Good, because we invest a lot of money to train you guys, and losing someone after a year doesn’t do anyone any good.”

I am now a second-year apprentice with Local Seven. I received my welding certs in June after many months of training that was free to me. I have learned invaluable information about structures and safety – free to me. I have learned history and am starting to learn blueprints – again, free to me. This Local and brotherhood is investing well over $10,000 dollars in exceptional hands-on training – all free to me!!!! Where else will you find that kind of thing?

Also, since the very beginning when I stepped foot on my first job, I have been making the same wage as my male counterparts! The exact same – no discrepancies. We all work hard and safely for our checks and we all deserve our wages – and that’s what our union believes and what our contractors believe.

I have worked several jobs since I started. Watching the skyline and landscapes of Boston and the other towns I have worked in has seemed like a dream. I will be up on top of a building and see a sunrise or just a view that makes me wonder how many people don’t realize what amazing work this is.

I am Annastashia Parke and I am a woman apprentice who is thrilled and grateful to be where she is.

Apprenticeships work. They are a pathway unknown to many, and it’s about time we speak up! Becoming an apprentice is one of the best things I ever did. There is no where to go now but up!

#‎WomenInApprenticeship #‎Apprenticeshipworks #‎local7 #‎ironworkerforlife #‎20percentby2020

 

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