INDIANAPOLIS — An apprenticeship program offers Hoosiers an opportunity to pivot into a new career in the multifamily industry.
The Indiana Apartment Association represents more than 255,000 apartment units across the state of Indiana and once again the organization is offering a hands-on training program for people interested in a career as a maintenance technician.
It is called the IAA Career Pathways Program for service technicians.
All of the training, materials, course work and tools needed are provided for free. At the end of the 40 hours of course work spanning six days, candidates will interview for four-week paid internships with multifamily properties with the goal of becoming a full-time employee at the end of the internship.
IAA had 100% placement in the first year of this program.
Clay Niverson and Cristal Young are two of those participants who are both employed in the Indianapolis area as maintenance techs.
Prior to this opportunity, Niverson was working two jobs in the food service industry before getting laid off due to COVID-19.
Young heard about the program from her pastor after getting laid off from Hertz also thanks to COVID-19.
Through the past six months in their new roles, they have kept busy even in a pandemic.
"It's finally something to retire from. And that was my biggest goal," Young said. "I thought that was Hertz, but that's the biggest thing, having something to retire from."
For Young, the tasks change day to day but her favorite part of the job is helping people, especially the elderly when issues arise in their apartments.
Niverson agrees, "I like interacting with the residents, ya know being able to help them out with stuff. It makes you feel good. The worst part of the job is probably lugging water heaters up stairs and getting stuck under sinks."
Niverson said this opportunity helped open up his own mind to the potential to specialize in the future and further his expertise in the trades.
"I'm a lot more interested in the trades now," Niverson said. "I've actually been looking into starting an HVAC program at Ivy Tech through the Workforce Ready program. Just the exposure to the different trades and stuff has made me want to grow more in this industry and learn more."
In the multifamily industry, maintenance techs like Young and Niverson learned to adapt in the pandemic by establishing and following guidelines when it comes to social distancing, mask-wearing and additional cleaning of high traffic areas.
This program best suits Hoosiers who are interested in problem-solving and working with their hands.
Maintenance techs learn all aspects of residential repair and they don't specialize in one area or another. No two days on the job are alike and the jobs are essentially recession-proof and in-demand according to the IAA.
Many of the companies offer housing discounts for maintenance techs who live on-site and they offer competitive, full-time benefits.
There is also flexibility with where the techs choose to live across the state because of the vast number of multifamily communities in Indiana.
IAA is now accepting applications for the May and August participants in this hands-on training program.
The deadline to apply for the May rotation is May 5. They are looking for 35 participants.