I'll admit it: I grew up in the sixties. It was a different world then, but not so different when it comes to a young person making his or her way in life—attaining knowledge and skills necessary to provide for a family. In 1969 my soon-to-be-husband was the only person at his high school to be accepted in three different apprenticeship programs. What an honor, and what a life decision. He chose sheet metal, earned his journeyman certificate and hired on at Ohio Brass Co.
Looking at A History of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, there is one quote I know to be true, "Sheet metal workers work hard. If they don't work hard, they don't work. It's a fact of life." My husband once worked so much overtime in a two-week pay period that he broke the time clock.
He never imagined that one important high school decision would lead to a white-collar career pathway, but it did. After an additional 2 years of evening college coursework, my husband was hired by Goodyear Aerospace in the quality and testing division where he enjoyed testing new products in the blimp hangar.
This apprenticeship gave my husband exceptional pride in his work. He once designed, cut and fabricated a metal valentine in a sheet metal envelope for a never forgotten, one-of -a-kind gift that only he could give to me. And his job paid above average wages enabling two young people in our 20's to buy a house, two cars and take annual vacations to Myrtle Beach with our two children. Solidly middle-class and happy.
Do you have an apprenticeship story to share for this Diaries series? Please let me know. Stay tuned for Apprenticeship Diaries, Part 2.