Facilities Apprenticeship Program Expanding to Other Trades
April 4, 2019
Painter’s Apprentice Program Started in 2014
If you’ve ever walked into a Yale building, office, or stairwell and smelled fresh paint, it’s because Yale painters were making their mark. Most of us don’t realize the skill needed to efficiently paint an area—large or small, inside or out.
In 2014, Yale Facilities introduced a painter’s apprentice program as part of the union contract. They partnered with Local 35 to give current union employees the opportunity to learn a trade and advance to a higher level. It is a three-year program that includes on-the-job training and some classroom work. The first group of six trainees completed the program and graduated in 2017. A second group is scheduled to graduate this fall. Most of the participants came from Hospitality or Custodial Services.
During the program, apprentices are taught the finer aspects of painting. They learn about different finishes, painting on various surfaces, painting indoor versus outdoor, and prepping the area. They also learn how to patch walls properly and safely set up scaffolding. Lastly, they spend several weeks at a local trade school for technical training. “This is a great program. All these individuals come to us as apprentices and leave as full-blown painters, trained by us and ready to work. We’ve got no end of painting projects here at the university,” said Mark Bednar, Director of Plant Operations. All Yale painters work the second shift as it is easier to get into spaces after 5:00 p.m.—like museums and residential colleges.
Expanding program to other trades - Plumbing and HVAC
Due to the success of the painter’s program, Facilities leadership recently expanded the program to include two mo
re trades–plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). In February 2019, a new session, consisting of two plumbers and two HVAC apprentices began. Trainees are paired up with a journeyman or licensed tradesman and work side by side with them for up to five years acquiring hands-on experience. Mechanical trades require licensing, so once they complete their onsite and trade-school training, they will apply for a Connecticut license and take a test to complete the process. “This newer program is an offshoot of the painters training and overall demonstrates a good working partnership between Yale leadership and Local 35,” said Mark Bednar.
(Pictured at right from the new Mechanical trades apprentice program: from left to right Mark Spadacenta, Corey Harris, Jason Ritter, and Korrey Wallace.)
Great opportunities for all
These programs create in-house job advancement, fill the jobs and skills void created by many recent and future retirements, and open job opportunities for current or new staff.