Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz recently welcomed one of the stateʼs oldest and largest Registered Apprenticeship sponsors to the Maryland Apprenticeship Ambassador Program. The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council (JATC) for the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union No. 486, a registered sponsor since 1962, joins the stateʼs incentive program to help raise awareness about Registered Apprenticeship.

“The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee has provided well-paying careers for Marylanders in the construction industry for decades,” said Labor Secretary Schulz. “Their experience and commitment to Registered Apprenticeship has helped fill these in-demand positions. In their role as apprenticeship ambassadors, they will partner with us to reach even more young people and share the advantages of what we call ‘the
other 4-year degree.ʼ”

The ambassador certificate presentation was made during the JATCʼs apprenticeship orientation at the Community College of Baltimore Countyʼs Essex campus. The annual event was attended by more than 250 apprentices, including an incoming class of about event was attended by more than 250 apprentices, including an incoming class of about
100 new apprentices.

“At the end of our training, apprentices are making excellent money with benefits, and have earned 30 college credits without incurring student debt,” said Training Director Al Clinedinst of the Local #486. “As a Maryland apprenticeship ambassador, we will continue to encourage young people to consider a career in the plumbing and steamfitting industry. We are thrilled to receive this honor from Secretary Schulz and look forward to our continued partnership with the Department of Labor in the future.”

Comprised of the Local Union 486 and the Mechanical Contractors Association, the JATC has a long history of training plumbers and steamfitters. Since the start of the program, 1,428 plumber and steamfitter apprentices have completed training.

“We are very proud to have our UA Local 486 Apprentice School recognized as an ambassador program by the state of Maryland,” said Stephen Weissenberger, executive vice president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Maryland, Inc. “We believe our program not only prepares our students to be the best skilled labor craftspersons in
the construction industry, but we also prepare our students to be contributing members of society who will make a difference and who will give back.”

Apprenticeship ambassadors voluntarily cultivate and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders, encouraging job seekers and businesses to engage in apprenticeship opportunities. For their commitment, ambassadors receive special recognition from the
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, customized advice and counsel on navigating the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program, the latest in apprenticeship news and emerging workforce trends, and valuable media exposure.

Since the beginning of the Hogan administration in January 2015, the number of registered apprentices has grown by nearly 20 percent. Today, approximately 9,600 apprentices are learning and earning throughout Maryland. In 2017, a total of 15 new Registered Apprenticeship programs were created and seven were re-activated, resulting in a record year for the program.