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Sixth Annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast at State Capitol on March 31
Event honors “truly unique Connecticut contribution to the workplace

For immediate release
March 30, 2009

WETHERSFIELD - Continuing what has become an early spring tradition, legislative leaders, labor officials and community representatives will gather March 31 at the State Capitol in Hartford to pay tribute to the state’s apprenticeship program during the sixth annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast. 

Sponsored by the Connecticut State Apprenticeship Council and the state’s apprenticeship community, this year’s program, which is titled “Apprenticeship: The Road To Success,” will be held in Room 310 of the State Capitol and run from 8:30 to 10 a.m.  

Speakers will include State Labor Commissioner Patricia H Mayfield, as well as apprentices who will share their experiences and talk about the job opportunities the program has provided for them.  

“Our Apprenticeship Breakfast gives us the opportunity to recognize this truly innovative program that has helped so many people ‘earn while they learn’ and also find their niche in the workforce,” Mayfield explains. “It also allows us to honor the late Congressman William Fitzgerald of Norwich, who represented Connecticut’s 2nd District, and is often referred to as the Father of Apprenticeship.”   

A Norwich native, Congressman Fitzgerald represented the New London-Norwich area from 1937 to 1938. In addition to sponsoring the original legislation that led to the National Apprenticeship Act which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, Fitzgerald also served as a Deputy Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Labor, and as Mayor of Norwich. 

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

“The development of skilled craft workers is of vital importance to the continued economic growth of our state and nation,” she said.  “Our annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast 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.” 

In addition, apprentices and their sponsoring organizations will be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about available programs. Visitors can also check out a special photo exhibit on the upper concourse of the Legislative Office Building that has been on display through March 31. 

According to Labor Department Apprenticeship Program Manager Jack Guerrera, the state’s apprenticeship system 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 our state and on the national employment and training scene for more than 70 years and Connecticut residents can take pride in its success," he said. 

Nationwide, 80,000 industries and companies offer 395,000 registered apprenticeship opportunities. In Connecticut, more than 2,500 employers and labor/management committees employ approximately 6,500 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs.  

Additional information about apprenticeship can be found on the agency’s Web site at  

Media Contact: Nancy Steffens  (860) 263-6535

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

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