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.”
Students pay $2,400 to participate, and if a remodeler or builder wants to hire a student still in the program, they’re required to pay the tuition on their behalf. However, since the state wants to encourage that sort of hiring, it will reimburse half the tuition to the company. And because the association is hiring its own teachers, using its own classrooms, and administering the program itself, for members those costs go down even further, so that a two-year apprenticeship program costs only $600.