Briana Heaney Published

New Carpentry Apprenticeship For People In Recovery Kicks Off In Charleston

A man in a beanie leans over a table with a tool that drills into a wooden frame.Amber N. Ford/NPR

Updated on Tuesday Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

The Goodwill Prosperity Center in Charleston hosted a celebration of a new residential construction apprenticeship Monday for people in recovery. 

Nov. 13-20 is National Apprenticeship Week. An apprenticeship is a program that combines classroom training with on-the-job training while getting paid. West Virginia has slightly more than 5,000 apprentices in the state, and ranks fifth in the nation for apprentices per capita. 

The new program through Charleston Property Restoration blends on the job construction training at the company with additional classroom education at Goodwill. The two-year program works with justice-impacted people in recovery to earn a nationally-recognized carpentry certificate through the United States Department of Labor. 

Andy Morton is in the program and said it has helped him stay sober. 

“We are also receiving some college credits for bridging the classes we are taking, something that I never thought was attainable for me,” Morton said. “And they will be helping us with books and fees for taking our contractor’s license which has always been a dream of mine.”

Others in the apprenticeship program talked about how it is helping them support their families and pave a path forward for themselves. Timothy Fisher is also in the program and said it’s meaningful to show your family a house that you helped build.

“It has allowed me to better my life, but also be able to better other skills and knowledge that will help me progress in life, and it’s something I can teach my son,” Fisher said. 

This program is a partnership with West Virginia Economic Development, Goodwill, the Department of Labor, and Workforce West Virginia.