Program Exposes Students to Masonry Careers
By Sarah Cavacini on Friday, June 3, 2022
Putnam County high schoolers could spend their summer working with their hands and making money with a masonry apprenticeship.
Recent graduates or students 17 or older can apply to spend their time off learning a new skill and working to become Occupational Safety and Health Administration IO-certified, said Sean McCoy, executive director of the Florida Masonry Apprentice & Educational Foundation.
The OSHA 10 certification is a work-site safety training some companies require their workers have.
“This type of program can help our students in Putnam County be employable and work with construction companies as well as being prepared for apprenticeship programs or other training programs that are offered around the state,” said Renee Hough, director of career and technical education for the Putnam County School District.
Hough oversees all of the career education high schools offered at the district schools. She also said students in the program will earn credentials that allow them to support themselves and their future family.
Students who apply and are accepted into the program will be sent to different companies around North Florida, McCoy said. There, apprentices will learn masonry and construction work while getting paid for the job. Each job is measured based on experience and could earn someone up to $16 per hour.
The deadline to apply is June 20, and people can do so by emailing McCoy with their name, their phone number, the trade they desire to learn and two sentences about their experience working in construction. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Putnam County Chamber of Commerce board Chairman Wayne McClain, who learned about the program from a county commissioner, called McCoy and the school district to get the ball rolling.
“It’s very exciting for our county, for our people,” McClain said.
He hopes this will be the catalyst to getting electrical, roofing and other skilled-trade job training programs started in Putnam County.
“Technical training or skills-based training is just right for a lot of young people,” McLain added.
The goal of the masonry program is to help show trade jobs are viable career options, McCoy said. The opportunity is for men and women to apply, he added.
“Construction is such a big deal now,” McCoy said.
If the apprentices do well in the program, they could continue working as part-time employees throughout the 2022-2023 school year. McCoy said the more training someone has, the more their pay could increase.
Working in a trade field also does not limit opportunities because sometimes, employers will pay for their employees to attend college, McCoy said.
The summer program accepts up to 50 people, and by the time the program is complete, apprentices could obtain the OSHA 10 status, launching them into a lifelong career.
“If you work at construction long enough, you can be your own boss,” McCoy said.
He said these apprentices could one day offer a similar opportunity to future generations.
“We’re trying to bring more training opportunities to the region,” he said.