BANGOR, Maine — A dozen lucky trade students got a box of tools they'll need to excel as they enter the trades field in plumbing, carpentry, or as electricians.
"It just means the future of starting out. I really didn't have any tools before this," Hunter Pinkham, United Technologies Center student and future electrician, said.
Amanda Peterson is the director of UTC. She said the right tools are crucial to doing a good job in any line of work.
"Tools are everything. It's usually a requirement that most employers are looking for when they step onto any job site," Peterson said.
Twelve lucky students got a heavy bag of tools to use during their studies and to set them up for success upon graduating.
Bob Alexander is the treasurer for the Greater Bangor Apartment Owners and Managers Association. He said each bag of tools is worth $500, thanks to scholarship money they were able to put aside for a special donation.
"We wanted to support the kids coming up that are going to be the tradesmen of the future," Alexander said.
Clint Jackson is an electrical instructor at UTC. He said the gift of tools would help future carpenters, electricians, and plumbers get right down to business in the classroom and out on the field once they start working.
"A lot of our kids may be the first generation of working with their hands or entering a trade, and I've already had a couple of the parents say, 'You know this is a great opportunity cause they had no idea what to buy,'" Jackson said.
Jackson said his class is capped at 36 students, but he had 56 students interested in the program this past term.
"To be able to give them quality tools, the kinds of things that they need in the trade that are high quality, will last a long time, and just set them up for early success," Jackson said.
"It's going to be very beneficial. It's a lot of money to get. I'm very thankful, definitely setting me up on the right track!" Pinkham said.
Peterson said the demand for trades jobs in Maine right now is at its peak.
"If you are willing to pick up the phone and take the work, you'll probably never be without a day's pay," Peterson said. "The need has never been greater, and the students ... they've never had as [many] opportunities like they do right now."
The average tradesman or woman in Maine makes about $60,000 a year.
"I've always wanted to go into the trade, but I wasn't sure what trade to go into. But I just really excelled at electrical," Pinkham said.
Click here to learn more about the United Technologies Center in Bangor.