Washington, D.C., Apprenticeship Club Brings
Young Workers Together
July 29, 2013
|Members of Washington, D.C., Local 26’s apprentice club recently volunteered their time at the Shepherd’s Table, a Silver Spring, Md., soup kitchen. Members Adam Reed, second from the left, Kevin Johnson Jr., Tarn Puvapiromquan, and Chris Drexel pitched in.
D.C. Apprentices Get Organized
Washington, D.C., Local 26 journeyman wireman Adam Reed started out in the work force at just about the worst time imaginable. The 28-year-old was caught up in the whirlwind of the Great Recession. In 2008 he lost his factory job in Pennsylvania, leaving him with few options.
But a chance meeting with a Local 26 apprentice in bar changed his life. “I was chatting with him and he suggested I move down to D.C. and apply to the program,” he says.
Even while an apprentice, Reed understood the need of all members to get involved in the union – particularly the younger generation.
So he got joined the Apprenticeship Club. Started three years ago by Apprentice Instructor Kevin Burton and journeyman (now International Representative) Tarn Puvapiromquan, it is one of the newest but fastest growing groups in Local 26.
“What started as a few apprentices gathering for some fun away from the jobsite, has grown into a committed group making a difference in the community,” reports Local 26’s magazine IN Charge. “The club has become a way for apprentices to really connect with the local and their fellow brothers and sisters, as well as the community in which they live and work.”
Today Reed chairs the club, which is more than a meeting place for apprentices.
“We’re a space for all younger members,” he says.
The group is active in community and charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Shepard’s Table, a soup kitchen in Silver Spring, Md. It also sponsors educational talks, bringing in more experienced members to share their knowledge with junior ones.
Recently, the club sponsored a forum on traveling, inviting a Local 26 member who had just returned from working in Afghanistan to share his experiences. “We had the referral agent on hand to answer any questions,” says Reed. “It was a really good turnout.”
Reed says the club is looking forward to a busy summer, including helping organize Local 26’s summer picnic and recruit volunteers for more community service events.
Members also make time for fun, hosting paint ball contests and poker tournaments.
“We try to do what our members are interested in,” he says. “If someone shows up to a meeting and says ‘I want to do this,’ we say ‘sure.’”
A Virginia-based apprenticeship club is now in the works.
“No matter how many people we get together, we are making an impact,” Reed says.