This article was updated on May 26, 2017, with some additional details about program pricing.
Ask any remodeler, any builder, anybody in the trades, really, and they’ll tell you the same thing: skilled labor is hard to find. But the shortage is nothing new. It’s been going on for years, and has lead to a growing effort to enlist and train new laborers. The latest of those efforts is taking place in Maine, where the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Maine is sponsoring a residential carpenter apprenticeship program that’s recently been approved by Maine’s labor department.
The coursework is going to be extensive. Over two years, enrollees will receive 4,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training, as well as 288 hours of classroom instruction, with coursework developed by the Home Builders Institute, the training arm of the National Association of Home Builders. According to a post by the NAHB, the program will cover “all of the basic aspects of the carpentry trade, including proper tool and equipment use, safety, rough framing, (and) exterior and interior finishing.”
According to Ashley Richards, executive officer at Home Builders and Remodelers Asssociation of Maine, the cost of tuition for the program is $2,400 per year, of which the state will reimburse 50 percent, up to $1,200. Association members who participate in the program will also receive a $600 credit, bringing the net cost per year per apprentice who is working for a builder or remodeler member to $600. Tuition can be paid by the employer, by the apprentice, or a combination of both. Some apprentices may be eligible for scholarships, and veterans are eligible and are encouraged to apply. Veterans who receive GI benefits for enrolling in the apprenticeship program will not be charged tuition.