BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Maine college student ,who plans to be a home builder, is having her work watched by millions of people around the country.
Bailey Beers, a senior at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, is one of three apprentices featured this season on the long-running PBS series, “This Old House”
“Yes, the cameras were watching me and I was not used to anything like that,” said Beers, who admitted she is a private person and not normally comfortable with cameras. Despite that, she put in her name and was one of three people invited to be apprentices for the current season’s project in Massachusetts. There, Beers spent ten weeks working with the veteran craftsmen in the “This Old House” cast, including contractor Tom Silva and carpenter Norm Abrams.
“They were great,” she said. “They knew exactly what they were doing, what they were talking about. Whenever we hit a little snag it wasn’t like they (were just) TV stars because they knew what they were doing.”
Beers said she learned some new skills but also some new techniques and tricks of the trader from the show’s regulars. She said the crew was also pushed to work faster than they do in school, because the contractor needs to meet a timeline to get the job done.
For her EMCC instructor, Troy Blodgett, that pressure was a great “real world” lesson for Bailey and the other apprentices. Blodgett said the effort to interest more young people in the building trades is needed.
“I have a job board that’s always filled,” he said, noting that every graduate of the program typically has multiple job offers.
“If we don’t get more people into the trade itself and the building construction portion, we will have a lot higher prices just to get work done,” said Blodgett.
That’s the goal of the “This Old House” apprenticeship effort for the current season, which it calls Generation Next. The program has pointed out that the worker shortage in the building trades is a problem all over the country. Several of the individual contractors on the Massachusetts job site are also using apprentices of their own.
Bailey Beers said the experience on the TV program made her more interested than ever in a career in construction.
“I like being able to start from nothing and be able to see my dream come true , or someone else’s dream come true,” said Bailey.
She said the “This Old House” project is almost finished, and she hopes to get to Massachusetts for one more day to see the final result.
And, of course, to connect with those old pros, who have become her new friends.