A BIG thank you to Danni with the Mateja Group of Keller Williams for promoting the Maine Blue Collar Scholarship Foundation during the month of August through their Mateja Gives program. 100% of these funds will go back to Mainers pursuing a career in the trades!
Cory Jandreau was awarded the Maine Blue Collar Scholarship in 2018 to use for his career path in Auto Collision Repair. Although Cory always had an interest in cars, it was when he attended Caribou Technology Center during his junior and senior years where he was taught full collision repair on vehicles that he had the opportunity to really increase his skills and knowledge. He credits his instructor, Ken Westin, who saw Cory’s potential and encouraged him. Cory had real life experience at the CTE school, as he purchased and rebuilt two of his own cars, an ‘07 BMW 5 Series his junior year and an ‘85 BMW 3 Series his senior year that he still owns.
Knowing he was headed to college, encouraged by his instructor and Tracy Corbin, Student Services Coordinator at Caribou Tech, Cory applied for the MBCS to assist in the costs of purchasing tools and furthering his education at Norther Maine Community College in auto collision. While at NMCC he participated in an internship at Moody’s Collision Centers during his winter break. After completing his education, he was hired by Moody’s as a paint technician.
Cory offered some advice to future tradespeople. He stated, “There is still that stigma around the trades that it is dirty work and smart people do not go into the trades. That is furthest from the truth, you will meet a lot of very smart people in the trades.” He offered, “It is an enticing option, there is always a need for trades people so you have real job security and the compensation & benefits are competitive with many other jobs.”
Best of Luck to Cory as he continues his career in Auto Collision!
Meet Michael Parent, Electrical CTE Instructor at Capitol Area Technology Center. Mike was awarded the MBC Instructor Scholarship affording him the opportunity to spend a week learning the latest products, processes and best practices in the electrical technology field. The experience is significant in the effort to ensure our instructors are providing relevant instruction and curriculum to students that is creating value to both the students and Maine employers.
After spending a week working at Lanco Mike stated. “I now have a much better understanding of how to guide students in preparing themselves professionally in order to have a shot at one day working for such an organization. I will integrate my experience at Lanco into my class in order to get 17–18-year-olds excited about electrical technology and various areas of employment in the electrical field.”
Mike shared, “the real benefit of working in the electrical field is the variety of jobs. Everything runs on electricity. I went from house wiring, to industrial, to troubleshooting, to automation/robotics to power plant superintendent. There are so many electrical careers out there and more every day.”
Mike has taught for the past seven years and has found an increased interest in those pursuing the electrical field. In the past, his classes had room for more students, he now has a waitlist of 20! While the stigma of going into the trades continues to be persistent, Mike said it best, “They relish the fact that they can do what their parents or peers cannot, and they can make a living doing it.”
What led you to pursue this career?
Shelby: As cliché as it sounds, my love for helping people and the adrenaline rushes. A 9 – 5 job never interested me. Every day at the fire house is different, and you never know what you are going to be doing until the tones drop and you find yourself running half a million-dollar apparatus.
As a woman did you find any specific challenges in choosing a career where women are underrepresented?
Shelby: The entry requirements are the same for all firefighters, regardless of their gender. As a female firefighter, though, you may need to exercise more and focus on building up your upper strength as the male population tends to strive more in the physical fitness than the female population.
For the most part, everyone has been welcoming. No matter where you go, you are going to find some individuals that do not support females being in the fire service. With my experience, more fire departments are changing their outlook on females and promoting females into the chain of command these days. With this, you will still have some bitter firefighters tell you that you cannot do something because of your gender. Take the anger and strive every day to be better. One of those days, those bitter firefighters will look at you and say, “you’re not bad”. In the fire service, those three words are gold. It means you have gained their respect and they trust you with their life. It takes a lot to get there, but when you do, it is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
What piece of advice would you offer to a young woman interested in pursuing a career in your trade?
Shelby: Do it. Join a department. Get involved. You can’t do this job alone. Find mentors in your department and learn from them. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there but know your boundaries. Show your leadership. Help with chores. Cook chow with your company. Sit around the chow table and not in your room. You can take as many classes and attend as many trainings that are offered, but you will not learn as much as when you sit around the chow table and talk to the firefighters that have been doing this career longer than before you were born. While they drink their coffee thick as motor oil, take every piece of information in. Whatever they are telling you, it is probably because it is important. I learned a lot about the fire service from these “table talks” as what they are called within the department. Aside from running calls, the kitchen table is one of the reasons I joined the fire service – to be part of the brotherhood/sisterhood, the war stories, and the friendly teasing of those within your company. Regardless of your gender, you’re the next generation and you want to make those retiring feel like they are leaving the future of the fire service in good hands
2019 recipients Tori and Kaitlin showing off their work boots at a recent Maine Blue Collar fundraising event with the Maine Mariners!
An update below from Kaitlin on her career path:
Maine School of Masonry is doing wonders for me, so far this school year I have learned more about brick work and the conservations of older historic buildings. Soon I will be learning about stone masonry as well as hardscapes. Not only am I learning about masonry, but I am also learning how to become an independent mason as well as future business owner.
After I graduate Maine School of Masonry, I will travel around the country as well as the world to restore historic buildings. It is my dream to become a stone restoration mason, and to keep our history alive.
About the school
Maine School of Masonry has two different 9 month courses. One of the courses, you learn about brick, block, and stone. The second course you learn about restoration masonry. Mitch, the instructor, not only goes over the material in the shop, but in the real world as well. We have taken field trips to beautiful old buildings to study its architecture, one of these being Fort Knox.
It is really up to the student which class they can take, personally I’m wanting to take both classes. Both classes will provide the student with the skills they need to become a mason, as well as a future business owner.
TJ is a 2019 scholarship recipient, he is working towards completing his Associates Degree in Electrical Construction and Maintenance at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. He has been working part-time while in school at Regional Electric in Auburn and has been offered a full-time job upon graduation. TJ said the Maine Blue Collar Scholarship has helped him to focus on excelling in school and to graduate with minimal student loans. He is pursuing a career that he is very passionate about and looks forward to a bright future. We are proud to have supported TJ in his endeavors and we look forward to seeing him continue to advance his skillset as a motivated young Mainer!
High-paying jobs are available for students who choose trade school or vocational or technical education instead of bachelor’s degree programs. Check out the link above to read the full article!
Connor is currently attending Kennebec Valley Community College in the Electrical Lineworker Technology Program. When he graduates he will be recruited by several companies in Maine, where the median wage is $34.10 per hour. Connor has a bright future ahead of him and the Maine Blue Collar Scholarship Foundation is proud to have been able to assist him in reaching his greatest potential.
News Center Maine has launched a new effort with the support of General Dynamics, Cianbro and Moody’s Collision Centers. Look for commercials highlighting these industries and the trades along with relevant news stories. If you would like to get your company involved as an associate sponsor please reach out to News Center Maine or you can email us at [email protected]