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.