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Woodworking Apprenticeship Program Guarantees $70K Salaries After Graduation

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Do you know a New Jersey high school student with a keen interest in woodworking? If so, they should know about a new apprenticeship program that guarantees a $70,000 salary upon graduation.

The Wall Street Journal reports that five high school students will be selected for a five-year program created by the Jersey City government, two colleges and architectural woodwork firm Eastern Millwork. Students will work three days a week at Eastern and attend classes twice a week, one at Hudson Community College and another held on site at Eastern Millwork, where students will be taught remotely by highly regarded woodworking professors at Pittsburg State University in Kansas.

From NJBiz:

The partnership stems from the college’s expansion of its Workforce Development program and Eastern Millwork’s need for employees trained in advanced manufacturing. Apprentices will receive full benefits – paid vacation and holidays, a 401K plan, and health insurance. They will earn a progressive salary starting at $24,500 and rising to $70,000 by the end of the fourth year, when they will be awarded their degree in advanced manufacturing, and become engineers at Eastern Millwork. There are several career tracks for engineers at Eastern Millwork with additional earnings potential. There is also the opportunity to continue their education and obtain a bachelor’s degree.”

“Eastern Millwork will use the dual-education model developed in Europe. In this model, apprentices will devote three days a week to practical experiences and one to industry-specific studies and training. Their fifth day of each week will be spent at Hudson County Community College where they will be engaged in coursework for their degree.”

A staircase built by Eastern Millwork for GlaxoSmithKline
A staircase built by Eastern Millwork for GlaxoSmithKline

The program’s first year kicked off in July, and applications for the 2020 class will be available on September 1st, 2019. Keep an eye on the Eastern Millwork website for updates.

Even if you’re not a high school student or located in New Jersey, now is a great time to achieve a dream of a woodworking career. The Woodworking Network reports that many professional woodworkers polled are having trouble finding workers due to low interest, leading many to upgrade their benefits package, raise pay and create workplace cultures on par with opportunities at desirable employers outside the industry. It’s worth contacting companies in your area if you’d like to learn more.


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