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Apprenticeships offer path into plumbing industry

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 6:00 AM, Jun 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-10 18:34:21Z
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DANVILLE — A local plumbing company is helping job seekers who want to enter the plumbing industry through an apprenticeship program with paid training.

Recognizing the need to fill positions in an aging industry, Danville-based Justin Dorsey Plumbing is looking for both licensed, experienced plumbers and those who want to learn a new skilled trade.

FIND JOBS | Find open positions in central Indiana with the Hiring Hoosiers job board

In Hendricks county, Kevin Blancaneaux is learning on the job while he does the work.

"It kind of comes natural to me," he says as he loosens a bolt, "fixing things, I guess."

Blancaneaux is with Justin Dorsey Plumbing. He's enrolled in an apprenticeship to become a fully-licensed plumber. Plumbing apprenticeship programs typically take four years to complete.

LEARN MORE | Careers at Justin Dorsey Plumbing

On this day, Blancaneaux is looking into a leaky pipe that soaked the floor in the back room of a strip mall store. He made the switch to pursue plumbing three years ago, saying he recognized the field as one which guarantees job security; he also wanted a career with a rising salary.

Blancaneaux's supervisor, Michael Rodgers, is tasked with finding good candidates to undertake a new skilled labor career.

"There are a lot of plumbing jobs out there and there aren't enough shoes to fill those positions," Rodgers said.

Rodgers, too, made a career switch to plumbing and also completed an apprenticeship program, while earning money doing hands-on training and climbed the ranks.

Rodgers is married and has three children, and says the career switch also allowed him to work and still support his family while attending school and learning a trade.

"An apprenticeship is a great opportunity for someone who meets those criteria , where they're personable, they're not afraid to be in front of people, to talk to people, where they're good problem solvers, where they can identify problems and come up with solutions, but they want to learn something new," Rodgers said.

Now, Rodgers is looking for people with that same drive.

60-year-old Justin Dorsey, the owner of the plumbing company bearing his name, acknowledges people his age are beginning to retire, which causes some concerns for him and the industry.

"This trade as a whole, across the country is losing thousands of people my age — I'm 60 years old — that are going into retirement," Dorsey said. "And there is a demand. You don't run out of a need for fresh water."

The company is looking to hire licensed, experienced plumbers; however, it is also open to helping applicants who want to get into an apprenticeship program with paid training.

LEARN MORE ABOUT APPRENTICESHIPS | Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

Licensed plumbers in Indiana typically earn between $54,000 to $80,000 per year, to start. Many field techs quickly advance to earn a six-figure salary.

There's always a need to flush the toilet or stop a leak. That's the job security Blancaneaux is talking about, now and for years to come. But he admits, this field is not for those who are wishy-washy.

"If you are [interested in plumbing], you gotta be dedicated to sticking with it and wanting to learn," Blancaneaux said.