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Fourth Annual Aprenticeship Breakfast To Be Held March 16
Recognizing Apprenticeship – 70 Years of the Fitzgerald Act

For immediate release
February 20, 2007

WETHERSFIELD, Legislative leaders, labor officials and community representatives from around the state will pay tribute to a truly unique Connecticut contribution to the workplace, the state’s apprenticeship program, during the fourth annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast taking place March 16.  Sponsored by the Connecticut State Apprenticeship Council and the state’s apprenticeship community, the event will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in Room 310 of the State Capitol. 

”We are inviting our friends from across the state to join us to honor this truly innovative program,” explains State Labor Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield. “It’s quite appropriate to hold this event so close to St. Patrick’s Day, too, because we will also be paying tribute to a Connecticut native and true Irish American – the late U.S. Congressman William Fitzgerald of Norwich, who is often referred to as the Father of Apprenticeship.” 

Congressman Fitzgerald, who represented the 2nd District, sponsored the original legislation that led to the signing of the National Apprenticeship Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. He also served as Deputy Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Labor and as Mayor of Norwich.

Apprenticeship is a recognized program that allows men and women to learn their chosen trade while on the job, Mayfield points out. Apprenticeship is often referred to as ‘the other four-year degree,’ providing a successful combination of on-the-job training and classroom study. 

“The development of skilled craft workers is of vital importance to the continued economic growth of our state and nation,” Mayfield said. “This event is a way for us to spread the word and educate the public about the job opportunities apprenticeship offers, and the benefits it provides to our state.” 

Staff and apprentices from sponsoring organizations will also be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information. Visitors can also check out a special apprenticeship photo exhibit on the upper concourse of the Legislative Office Building from March 16 to 30. The posters depict apprentices involved in their individual trades and the many programs that provide participants with an opportunity to “earn while they learn” a skill that is highly marketable in today’s economy.

The apprenticeship system, according to Apprenticeship Program Manager Jack Guerrera, offers career opportunities in more than 400 trades, including carpentry, plumbing and masonry. The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training is responsible for registering apprentice programs that meet federal and state standards.  "Apprenticeship has been a fixture in the state and the national employment and training scene for 70 years now, and Connecticut residents should truly take pride in its success," he said. 

Nationwide, 80,000 industries and companies offer 395,000 registered apprenticeships. In Connecticut, more than 1,700 employers and labor/management committees employ approximately 5,500 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs.

Media Contact: Nancy Steffens  (860) 263-6535

200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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