JAY – With the average age of a construction worker at 40, those in the profession are looking for ways to train younger generations in plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry and other trades, Tim Madden said Friday.

Madden, who works for Ranor Inc., a commercial plumbing and heating business and is a member of the Association of Builders and Contractors, told the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce members the effort would be on training a pool of people for contractors to draw upon.

SAD 36 directors gave Madden and others concept approval in April to develop a curriculum for a craft construction training program.

Madden envisions the program starting out in the middle school with an overview of all construction crafts.

Now, though, the trades training program would target junior and seniors.

The courses taught by local contractors would be a combination of hands-on and theory training in and out of a classroom setting. It will be structured to include construction site experience with modern equipment, according to a program syllabus.

The junior year would consist of the core basic construction skills needed by all construction crafts. Topics include basic safety, basic math and introduction to hand tools, power tools, blue print reading and basic rigging.

In the balance of the junior year and senior year the students will be required to gain a basic knowledge of carpentry, electricity and plumbing.

Once the students complete the two-year-program, Madden said, they would leave it with a level one professional license.

Students would get certificate recognition within the industry for the nationally certified courses and it would be recognized at a college for credit toward an associate degree.

Madden said Livermore Falls High School teacher, Greg Swenson, has already been through a training session and will go through another in the future.

This year, the program at the high school will be a home-repair program, he said.

“Kids will get to experience carpentry, plumbing, electricity and heating,” Madden said.

Students would learn what to do if a toilet starts leaking or a hole is made in Sheetrock, he said. And, they would also know what type of contractor to call on if needed and what questions to ask.

The Association of Builders and Contractors would pay half the cost of the program and they are looking to the education area to pay the other half.

Another area that needs to be worked on is the state’s rule regarding apprenticeships that restricts age participation to 16 and up, he said.

“We need to get that age down to 14 so kids get more of the whole picture,” he said.

There are 17 Maine schools using the program including Lewiston, he added.

“It is an established program and seems to be working out very well,” Madden said.

There is commitment from high schools in Jay, Livermore Falls and Winthrop for next year.

Other schools are also looking at the training program, Madden said.

“We’re looking to get businesses involved,” he said. “Training this pool of people that are out there is very important.”

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