SPARROWS POINT, Md. — At times, getting a spending bill through Congress may seem just as difficult as putting an egg into a carton with a 10-ton Tracko excavator, but that’s what they train people to do at this training center in Sparrows Point, and apprentices like Anthony Cartrette, Senior say re-building the nation’s infrastructure could certainly benefit them.
“I believe they’re trying to help, genuinely,” said Cartrette. "Like you say, with the infrastructure bill, it’s supposed to bring a lot of jobs here.”
At least that’s the sales pitch from U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh who came with a Maryland senator and congressman at his side to promote the more than two trillion dollar American Jobs Plan.
“It’s not a Republican or Democrat idea. It’s an American idea,” said Walsh. “It’s about pushing America forward. It’s about making sure our work force in the future are prepared and trained so we continue to lead the world as an industrialized nation. That’s what it’s all about.”
After three years, apprentices like Cartrette will start at entry wages of about $18 an hour with a chance to double that at full scale, if the work is there to support the jobs, and there’s the matter of being able to use a 20,000-pound piece of equipment to move an egg without cracking it, of course.
“Not yet, but in order to get through the course, you have to be able to do that,” said Cartrette. “You’ve got to have finesse with these machines or you could kill somebody.”
In addition to a good salary, those who graduate from the apprenticeships also can look forward to health benefits, retirement and even vacations.