Posted by: Asher Nichols, owner of Asher Nichols & Craftsmen, and Director Chair of Workforce Development Committee
I grew up and have roots in Maine. Rightly so, Maine is where my identity as a Carpenter was formed.
From there, I had many chances to write my own story. I hope that my voice here will be heard by a few people looking for ways to support Workforce Development.
**Alas, this format will probably never be read by someone born after 1985… So, I guess I’ll just keep it simple and hope that all of you born before then will hear me and give a “kid” a chance for a great life!
Here is my journey in summary and key factors we can all use to keep our focus on the Trades.
1: Exposure to real Carpenters
In 1991, or ‘92, I was put on a small crew building a garage and they taught me how to hump shingles that Summer. These guys took the time to show me the right way. I don’t remember my first day, but I remember at the end of the Summer, I had a “spark” to care for….
2: Demonstrate what work looks like
The crew I joined was hardworking, the company owners were onsite most of the time. Everyone put in an honest 8hrs and took lunch together. Your W2 field crew may be the best ones to “sell” your trade.
3: Show them the path and the money
I quickly learned that there was money in this profession. Certainly, way more than mowing lawns and selling crustaceans! I’m glad to have been given the chance to work and earn money. I had enough to buy my first Ford at the end of the Summer. Every new skill gave me the confidence to try more.
4: Encourage other experiences along the way
At one point, I chose to go to college and pursue Mechanical Engineering with dreams of building cars or robots. I’m glad to have followed many paths, taken a gap year, and learn more about the difference between Commercial and Residential work. A degree was unnecessary, but all these stops along the way shaped my identity in the trades. Once a Carpenter, ALWAYS a Carpenter.
5: Stay in business!
Several of the Maine companies I worked for went out of business, eventually. It’s hard to stay in business. But we must provide stability for our employees and their families.
Make this priority #1.
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