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Thursday, July 23, 2008  

Rhonda Wardlaw, DLLR
Cell- 410-948-2306 Office- 410-230-6071
Tammy M. Brown, PIO, JS
(O) 410-230-3348 (C) 443-415-6792
Matt Losak, NLC, 301-431-5453
First Class in the Nation to Conclude New Pre-Apprenticeship Program

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND (July 24, 2008) – Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore today recognized 11 youth in the juvenile justice system who successfully completed and graduated from the nation’s first Pre-Apprenticeship Program in skilled construction trades.  The youth, who are residents of the Victor Cullen Center for boys successfully completed the 10 week program that started on May 19.   

“If there are two things I could do for all of our youth it is to give them an education and a caring adult in their life. The Pre-Apprenticeship program at Victor Cullen not only lays the educational foundation for our youth to succeed but creates an important connection to caring adults who have experience obtaining and maintaining careers in the trades,” said Secretary Donald DeVore.

The apprenticeship program included 84 hours of introductory training from 25 trade union workers from skilled construction trades including bricklayers, carpenters, electrical workers, masons, plumbers, roofers and sheet metal workers.  The program curriculum was created in collaboration with the Apprenticeship and Training Division for the Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 24, who facilitated the program. 

“One of the core principles of our workforce system is that there is no spare Marylander. This partnership is an innovative effort to provide these students with the opportunities, the skills and the resources that will allow them to succeed in the workplace and in life,” said Secretary Perez.

Through this program youth gained an understanding of how they can “earn as they learn” through apprenticeships that provide the optimum blend of on-the-job training, classroom instruction and a sound starting salary. They learned about job benefits, including health care, pensions, profit-sharing, paid vacations and how their salaries can increase as they gain proficiency towards becoming journeypersons. Youth also discovered how to enter management fields, become licensed and own their own businesses.  Each graduate earned 3 college credits from the National Labor College and certifications in CPR, First Aid and OSHA.

Joining the Secretaries at today’s event were President of the National Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO Mark Ayres and the Maryland Area Union Building Trades Apprenticeship Personnel.