Yale Facilities’ apprentice programs—Carpentry builds momentum

June 24, 2022

In November 2021, the status of several apprenticeship programs created through a partnership between the Office of Facilities and Local 35 leadership was published. The new carpentry and the already established electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) programs promote in-house job advancement, help fill open positions more seamlessly, and cover gaps left by the retirement of skilled staff.

At that time, the four-year carpentry apprenticeship had launched and included three internal transfers. Participants from Yale Hospitality and Facilities Grounds Maintenance pursued the opportunity and the program welcomed its first women: Ashlee Griffin and Lakiya Gaye.

Carpentry apprentices complete four-month rotations at each of Yale’s campuses— central, medical, and west —and at the end of each year, they take a written test. When they pass this test, apprentices progress to the next twelve-month commitment and move up one salary level. “The written test was created jointly by management and the Local 35 mentors who are training the apprentices. After graduation, they will be labor grade 11 Yale carpenters,” says Michael Pizzella, Associate Director of Physical Plant Operations, Office of Facilities. 

In 2019, the first mechanical and electrical trades group started their program and now, three years later, continues its classroom and hands-on training. All six apprentices in this Facilities program are on track to graduate in 2024, which includes testing for state licensing. “During their training, they work hand in hand with state-licensed electricians and mechanics from our department. The apprentices perform various tasks from Yale’s Commencement setup to Spring Fling power installation as well as other projects within the electrical shop. We try to give them as much experience as possible,” says Brian Page, Manager of Campus Electrical Infrastructure, Office of Facilities.

Lastly, the two plumbing apprentices continue their training and are scheduled to finish the program in 2023. In addition to their onsite and trade-school training at Yale, they will apply for a license from the state of Connecticut and take a test to complete the process.

Yale managers and Local 35 leadership continue to discuss including additional trades in the apprenticeship program, such as masonry and glazing, given the success of existing training opportunities.

The current Facilities apprentice programs include the following tradespersons:

  • Carpenter apprentices: Ashley Griffin, Lakiya Gaye, and Stephen Ferriola
  • Electrician apprentices: Zephaniah Willoughby, Michael Jackson, Aaron Smith, and Rodney Williams
  • HVAC apprentices: Mark Spadacenta and Korrey Wallace
  • Plumbing apprentices: Corey Harris and Jason Ritter