With a labor shortage limiting construction in Maine, it is more important than ever for our industry to invest time and effort in supporting the next generation of skilled tradespeople. That’s why Hardypond Construction has partnered with Central Maine Community College (CMCC) and their Job Site Track Program, part of the school’s Building Construction Technology program. It’s a natural partnership for Hardypond as we have a long history with CMCC. Hardypond Founder Bob Gaudreau is a graduate of CMCC, and currently serves on the CM Education Foundation Board, previously in the role of President.
“I really love to point students to Hardypond. I know they’re going to learn there and have a great job site experience,” says Curry Caputo, Chair of the Building Construction Technology Program at CMCC. One of Caputo’s goals is to broaden students’ view of what they can do in construction: it’s more than just banging nails; they can develop a career as an estimator, a designer, or a project manager. He goes on to describe how the students in the Job Site Track Program often learn more than just carpentry and technical skills on the job: “A major benefit is that these students know what it means to be a good worker. They show up on time. They know how to communicate and know the value of details. That’s difficult to teach in a lab.”
The CMCC Job Site Track Program gives students an opportunity to work on job sites with local construction companies. The program alternates this paid, on-the-job experience with classroom and laboratory training, and uniquely prepares students with necessary industry skills through their hands-on training. Students who complete the Job Site Track will not only earn an associate’s degree, but will likely have a job waiting for them with their internship employer.
One of Hardypond’s core values is to help advance the building trades locally. This past year, we hosted two CMCC students who will continue on full-time with Hardypond after graduation. One of ourstudents/new team members is Shyann Pessant. Originally from Sebbatus, Pessant has always loved working with her hands and building things. Perhaps it’s in her blood — her mother built a two-story clubhouse for Shyann and her brother when they were kids, and her grandfather built an addition on his house.
“College teaches you the basics, but you learn so much more on the job site than in school,” shares Pessant. She describes the value of being assigned a task and having to problem solve, work with a team, and figure out how to accomplish it. From framing walls and learning to build metal soffits to taping and installing drywall, Pessant has learned a ton while working with Hardypond.
“Shyann is a hard worker. She is always really positive on the job site and she’s serious about learning and doing quality work,” says Hardypond President, Deirdre Wadsworth. “To have someone interested, willing, and excited to learn is such a great asset for our company.”
Of being one of the only females on the job site, Peasant shared that she was initially apprehensive about working in construction, “I’ve had experiences where people don’t think I can do something and I like proving people wrong… Watch me!” It was appealing to work for a woman-owned company and Pessant loves her new job with Hardypond and has found the culture to be a good fit for her.
“Hardypond is very conscious of the relationship with students and they try to provide opportunities for them to try different tasks and be exposed to different things,” shares Caputo. “The feedback I receive from students who work with Hardypond is phenomenal. Hardypond is a progressive company that really values their workers and holds regular meetings where they ask ‘How can we be better prepared for next week?’ Students come out of the experience a better carpenter and a better person.”