Seventh Annual Apprenticeship Breakfast Held March 23 at State Capitol
Event honors “truly unique Connecticut contribution to the workplace”
WETHERSFIELD, CT- Continuing what has become an early spring tradition, legislative leaders, labor officials and community representatives gathered on March 23 at the State Capitol in Hartford to pay tribute to the state’s apprenticeship program during the seventh annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast.
Sponsored by the Connecticut Joint Apprenticeship and Training Directors and the state’s apprenticeship community, this year’s program, titled “Apprenticeship: Green with Energy,” was held in Room 310 of the State Capitol.
Several speakers shared their experiences and talked about the job opportunities the program has provided for them.
“Our Apprenticeship Breakfast gives us the opportunity to recognize this truly innovative program that has helped so many people ‘earn while they learn’ and also find their niche in the workforce,” explained Jack Guerrera, Connecticut Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program Manager. “It also allows us to honor the late Congressman William Fitzgerald of Norwich, who represented Connecticut’s 2nd District, and is often referred to as the Father of Apprenticeship.”
A Norwich native, Congressman Fitzgerald represented the New London-Norwich area from 1937 to 1938. In addition to sponsoring the original legislation that led to the National Apprenticeship Act which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, Fitzgerald also served as a Deputy Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Labor, and as Mayor of Norwich.
Apprenticeship, is often referred to as ‘the other four-year degree,” for providing a successful combination of on-the-job training and classroom study.
“The development of skilled craft workers is of vital importance to the continued economic growth of our state and nation,” Guerrera noted. “Our annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast is a way for us to spread the word and educate the public about the job opportunities apprenticeship offers, and the benefits it provides to our state.”
In addition, apprentices and their sponsoring organizations were on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about available programs. Visitors also checked out a special photo exhibit on the upper concourse of the Legislative Office Building that was on display from March 15 to March 26. The posters depict apprentices involved in their individual trades and the many programs that provide participants with opportunities to “earn while they learn” skills that are highly marketable in today’s economy.
According to Guerrera, the state’s apprenticeship system offers career opportunities in more than 400 trades, including carpentry, plumbing and masonry. The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training is responsible for registering apprentice programs that meet federal and state standards. "Apprenticeship has been a fixture in our state and on the national employment and training scene for more than 70 years and Connecticut residents can take pride in its success," he said.
In Connecticut, more than 3,000 employers and labor/management committees employ approximately 6,000 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs.
Additional information about apprenticeship can be found on the agency’s Web site at www.ctapprenticeship.com.
Submitted by John Griffin