Generation NEXT: Meet 17 Up-and-Comers
These young men and women are getting the training they need to go the trade route—and they're proud to be building hands-on careers
JoHanna Clendenning, 24
Lower Burrell, PA | Plumbing
Some people thrive on the rigors of a 40-hour-workweek coupled with several nights of school, and JoHanna Clendenning is one of them. “I love the job and the training, especially working with my hands,” says Clendenning, now a fifth-year apprentice with the Pittsburgh Plumbers Local 27 of the UA. Interested in the building trades since she was very young, she got a taste of the work at a local vocational-technical high school and considered careers in both electrical and plumbing. After a year at the Red Rock Job Corps Center, in Sullivan County, PA—a program of the Department of Labor, which operates centers around the country offering vocational training and education at no cost to people 16 to 24 years old—she worked for a plumbing company and took more classes, then applied for the UA apprenticeship.
It’s been a lot of hard work and valuable training ever since, as well as a paid, full-time job. Clendenning takes pride in the fact that she has passed her journeyman plumber test, and is enthusiastic about this last year of her apprenticeship, which includes a focus on computer-assisted design. “I got called in to do AutoCAD work for a project, and I see that skill as something I will be using for years to come.” She hopes to become a master plumber and pursue both residential and commercial work, but values the camaraderie and on-the-job training right now. “I like working with the other plumbers, communicating during our workday, and knowing that the big projects we do are helping to build up our town and city. That’s very satisfying.”