Millett bill to help vocational students get into careers signed into law

Posted: April 05, 2017 | Senator Millett

A bill that would help vocational students find good-paying jobs and address a skill shortage in Maine’s workforce was signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage.

The bill — LD 37 “An Act To Provide a Career and Technical Education Training Option for Plumbers” — by Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth would allow students who study plumbing at a Career and Technical Education school to receive a journeyman-in-training license upon graduation.

“I’m glad that the Legislature and the governor saw the value in giving our students a fast-track toward rewarding careers in an in-demand field,” said Sen. Millett. “Plumbers are skilled laborers who are high demand here in Maine and who get paid well. Creating this license will help get more young Mainers quickly on a solid career path.”

The bill earned the support of the Maine Education Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, as well as career plumbers and instructors at Maine’s career and technical schools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment opportunities for plumbers will grow faster than the average. However, industry groups report there are not enough people entering the field to meet the demand.

The journeyman-in-training license would be issued by the Plumbers’ Examining Board and would allow a CTE graduate to begin working immediately upon graduation under the supervision of a licensed plumber. Hours worked as a journeyman-in-training would count toward the required number of hours necessary to become a journeyman or master plumber in their own right, and would give graduates the option to learn and earn those hours “in the field” as opposed to earning them at additional cost through further schooling.

Career and Technical Schools offer similar third-party certificates for those studying welding, carpentry, culinary arts, masonry and other skills, but plumbing is left off the list.