By Realty Builder Staff, published on jaxdailyrecord.com.
A group of 375 students took the first steps toward a new career path by attending classes to become a carpenter, electrician, plumber or HVAC technician.
The NEFBA Apprenticeship program welcomed the 375 apprentices, along with 19 instructors, to 22 trades-related classes during the last weeks of August to kickoff the 2018-2019 training year.
In preparation for the new training classes, instructors were welcomed back in mid-August by the apprenticeship staff. New to NEFBA, Rachael Burke came on board with the apprenticeship staff in June as a second training coordinator in addition to Tatum Ellison. The program’s related-trade instructional duties for school operations has been led by Charlie Libretto since January. Christina Thomas has been NEFBA’s director of training, and she has been responsible for the program’s workforce development operations since July 2016.
“Of course, the NEFBA Apprenticeship program would not be possible without the ongoing, continued partnership with Jacksonville’s career college, Keiser University,” Thomas said. “Keiser has graciously provided classroom space for our related instruction since 2015. They have gone out of their way to welcome our program’s efforts as part of their investment in our community’s education.”
This year’s apprentices were welcomed back to classes by NEFBA First Vice President Sean Junker. Junker is a devoted supporter of the apprenticeship program as the construction industry continues to see workforce development and the shortage of skilled tradespeople as being one of the most critical industry issues.
NEFBA Vice President of Training Keith Ward, along with NEFBA Executive Officer Bill Garrison, were among the executive level professionals welcoming apprentices back to classes.
“Starting my career in the industry as a framing carpenter, it was incredibly rewarding to have the honor of welcoming back our next generation of rising industry leaders back to classes,” Garrison said. “They looked professional and ready to get back to taking the next steps in a long-lasting, rewarding career.”
The training for the latest group of apprentices will last until the end of April. Applications for the next training year will open March 14.