Businesses Look To High School Tech Programs To Find Workers, Enrollment Grows Across Maine

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With the continuing labor shortage, vocational and tech schools have become essential for local businesses to survive, large and small. The number of enrollments in schools has increased dramatically as the idea of ​​success shifts from a university degree. , but Connor Cram knows what he’s going to do for a living. “There is always a need for plumbers, electricians, carpenters,” he said. He even knows where he will work after graduation. this region needs it, ”said Samuel Cronin, owner of Maine Line Plumbing and Heating in neighboring Norway. He hired Cram after struggling to find workers even before the pandemic. to other places because the technology is booming and it’s a pretty demanding career, ”Cronin said. Small companies like Cronin, big companies like Bath Iron Works, are calling on Maine’s 27 career and technology schools, hoping to train and hire students. with the students during the summer and during their senior year of high school because they know they might be able to keep them, ”said Julie Kenney, president of Maine’s career and technical education administrators. Sites like “Simply Hired” show entry-level jobs currently posted in the trades industry pay between $ 15 and $ 26 an hour. In 2019, the Maine Department of Labor said a junior plumber earns 40,000 $ per year and over $ 54,000 with overtime with 50 hour work weeks. This potential increases to $ 71,000 per year for a median plumber position working 50 hours per week. Kenney said that with these jobs ready for skilled workers, the company is redefining what success means. just when you get to college, success is having a plan, ”she said. Enrollment in these courses has increased dramatically statewide. “About 75% of students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School end up in a vocational and technical program, compared to less than 20% statewide,” said Paul Bickford, principal of Oxford Hill Tech School . decides if she wants to be an interior designer. “Because if I get into that class and don’t have to worry about changing major in college,” said Meagher, who is a junior. Ultimately, that’s a big draw to the state because it’s likely these students will stay in Maine. “Connor is a great example of someone who wants to stay and work with this company right now,” Bickford said. “It makes me feel a lot better about the future,” Cronin said. “If you want to stay here, you can make as much money here around your hometown as you can go to college. It just depends on how you want it. Many programs offer credits within the Maine Community College System. You can find more salary statistics from the Maine Department of Labor here.

With the continuing shortage of workers, vocational and tech schools have become essential for local businesses to survive, large and small.

The number of enrollments in schools has increased dramatically as the idea of ​​success shifts from a university degree.

He’s just a junior at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, but Connor Cram knows what he’s going to do for a living.

“There is always a need for plumbers, electricians, carpenters,” he says.

He even knows where he will work after graduation.

“I’m very happy to support this because this region needs it,” said Samuel Cronin, owner of Maine Line Plumbing and Heating in neighboring Norway.

He hired Cram after struggling to find workers even before the pandemic.

“It’s extremely difficult, a lot of young people are easily referred to other places because the technology is booming and it’s a pretty demanding career,” Cronin said.

Small companies like Cronin’s, to large companies like Bath Iron Works, are tapping into Maine’s 27 Career and Tech Schools, hoping to train and hire students before they leave school.

“They are ready to continue this training and work with the students during the summer and during their senior year of high school because they know they might be able to keep them,” said Julie Kenney, president of Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education.

Sites like “Simply Hired” show that entry-level jobs posted today in the trades industry pay between $ 15 and $ 26 an hour.

In 2019, the Maine Department of Labor reported that a junior plumber made $ 40,000 per year and over $ 54,000 with overtime with 50-hour work weeks. This potential climbs to $ 71,000 per year for a median plumber position working 50 hours per week.

Kenney said that with these jobs ready for skilled workers, the company is redefining what success means.

“I think there is a new push that success isn’t just about college, success is having a plan,” she said.

Enrollment in these courses is increasing dramatically statewide.

“About 75% of students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School end up in a vocational and technical program, compared to less than 20% statewide,” said Paul Bickford, principal of Oxford Hill Tech School.

He said there are benefits to taking any of the 19 programs they offer, even for students planning to go to college like Allegra Meagher, who decides if she wants to become an interior designer. .

“Because if I get into that class and don’t have to worry about changing major in college,” said Meagher, who is a junior.

Ultimately, this is a big draw for the state as it is likely that these students will stay in Maine.

“Connor is a great example of someone who wants to stay and work with this company right now,” Bickford said.

“It makes me feel a lot better about the future,” Cronin said. “If you want to stay here, you can make as much money here around your hometown as you can go to college. It just depends on how bad the situation is.

Many programs offer credits within the Maine Community College System.

You can find more salary statistics from the Maine Department of Labor here.


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