More than a Fresh Coat of Paint
It’s a beautiful fall day and you walk into an old Habitat home and smell fresh paint, hear a lot of laughter and chatter, and see nine hardworking painting trainees at work to make the home ready for a new family.
These trainees are from the Local 781 paint and drywall finishing apprenticeship program. They spent the day working with Milwaukee Habitat’s Real Estate Development Manager, Jake Weiler, painting the interior and exterior of the home.
The program has nine trainees who go through three semesters to complete their training. They work four days a week and spend one day a week in the classroom. This is an opportunity to expose apprentices to real-world experiences that they would not be able to get in a training facility. This opportunity is also a way to demonstrate how they contribute to the community, and it helps spread the message that trades are a valuable option for employment.
“We have a great team,” trainee Mollie said. “Our class gets along wonderfully. Everyone is a good hard worker. Everyone brings something different to the table. [They’re] a good team that I think I will be able to grow and learn with for a long time.”
The apprenticeship program and Milwaukee Habitat have created a beneficial partnership and worked together to create beautifully painted homes for Milwaukee families.
“It feels good,” trainee Harrison said. “It feels really good. It’s beneficial to both parties. It’s going to help [families] out and give me experience. In the end it’s perfect in that sense.”
Through the program and working on Habitat homes, trainees are able to utilize the skills they are learning in the classroom and gain real world experience.
“[We are] able to cut in, prep, roll in, and see how to manage a job like this in a residential area on your own,” Harrison said. “It’s a good experience.”
The trainees recognize that their work on this home will help them gain new knowledge and help the community.
“We can drive past this and say we did that,” Mollie said. “We helped out with that. There’s a family that gets to go in there and live and have something nice.”
They are enthusiastic about their work and what it means for the future.
“The big picture here is someone is moving in here and changing their lives for the better. To me, that’s something great that I will get out of this,” Harrison said.