FARMINGTON — A veteran Temple plumber will pass on his knowledge and skills to students in the new plumbing program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center.
Lucky Harrison is the new part-time instructor for the program. He was hired Tuesday night by the Regional School Unit 9 School Board and has spent 45 years in the plumbing trade. He ran Lucky’s Plumbing for decades.
Harrison’s new classroom is where the forestry program was. The latter program moved into the adjacent incubation/flex space.
Students in their junior and senior years who are interested in joining the plumbing program are asked to contact the Foster center at Mt. Blue Campus at 207-778-3562.
“I love the plumbing trade,” Harrison, 76, said. He didn’t want to give up the trade and decided that he could share his knowledge and skills with younger generations.
He checked out his classroom and work area Wednesday. There is no equipment yet, but there will be.
“It is a wonderful career as far as choice goes,” Harrison said. “They can do plumbing all of their life or they can go on to something else. It also gives them a viable career if they just want to be in the trades.”
He is familiar with kids and their problems, he said. He has raised five children, including RSU 9 Director Cheriann Harrison, and he has nine grandchildren.
“Kids and grandchildren are a very important part of my life,” Harrison said.
Cheriann Harrison abstained from voting Tuesday when the board voted to hire new employees.
The Plumbing Program will be funded for the first year, possibly the second year, through a grant from the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Janet Mills reached a settlement in March with National Bath Systems LLC, doing business as Bath Fitter of Portland, concerning accusations of violations of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Mills desires that the Bath Fitter settlement funds be used for consumer protection and education, including training in compliance with Maine plumbing laws, rules and codes, according to the agreement with the schools.
Mills also believes that Maine consumers benefit from knowledgeable plumbers and that such knowledge begins with the education of students seeking to sit for a Maine plumbing examination, the agreement states.
Conditions of the grant include that the plumbing programs be approved by the respective state and local educational authorities and that they are established according to state standards.
The school must use Maine licensed master plumbers as instructors and must be populated with plumbing students, according to terms set forth in the agreement.
All programs will be designed to prepare the students to sit for the Maine journeyman’s examination. Schools also will be required to make all reasonable efforts to seek reimbursement from the state and local authorities to continue the programs after the grant funds from the attorney general are terminated.
The second annual payment is subject to Bath Fitter’s continued compliance with the consent judgment with regard to the completion of the settlement payment.
During the first year of the grant, $30,000 is for a half-time instructor and $30,000 is for facilities and equipment, Foster Center Director Glenn Kapiloff said in July.
During the second year, beginning in September 2016, $60,000 would be for a full-time instructor and would include heating, ventilation and air conditioning instruction.
Becoming an instructor, Harrison said, gives him the chance to pass on information to the future.
“It’s like anything else, you just want to support the next generation more than anything,” he said.