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Hiring Hoosiers: Apartment association launches technician pathway program for open positions

Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2021-10-01 09:43:51-04

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INDIANAPOLIS — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one industry association is still looking to help Hoosiers fill jobs in demand.

The Indiana Apartment Association represents owners and managers of more than 250,000 apartment units and communities statewide.

Its members across the state are still looking for skilled workers to fill open positions as service technicians so IAA is launching a new training program to give Hoosiers the skills to fill these open roles.

The IAA Career Pathways Service Technicians Program will train and place individuals in rewarding careers within the multifamily industry.

Participants will be trained on fundamentals of the job like an intro to the industry, basics of electrical, basics of appliance repair, basics of plumbing, make-ready process, federal and state fair housing, and customer service skills.

Once the student completes the program, they will be places with an on-site member for a 30-day apprenticeship.

There they will be paid and complete daily tasks and do on-the-job training with people in the industry.

After the student completes the apprenticeship, the student would likely be hired by the on-site member.

"There are all kinds of openings in our industry as a lot of people have a lot of openings for service technicians. But we are really focused on trying to work with people that may not know about this career path," said Lynne Peterson, president of IAA.

She says they ask the participating management companies to put these candidates through another training program for a certified apartment maintenance technician.

"So this is a couple year process, but all the while they will be working and gainfully employed," Peterson said.

Its target demographic for the program is people soon-to-graduate, recent grads, underemployed, unemployed, or trade-employed individuals.

The training will take place in Indianapolis so the participants would need to be able to commute there. However, they have members statewide so there is a lot of opportunity for work anywhere around the state.

"The perfect candidate would have a high school education but obviously they are maybe not interested in going to college," Peterson said. "They like working with their hands. They like doing work of that nature. They like working with people, our industry is a people industry when you are working with residents all the time and then someone who is looking for an advancement in their career."

David Creek can echo the hands-on work and opportunity to move up sentiments,

He himself started in this industry as a part-time groundsman. Within five years he was running his own property. And now he is the Maintenance Director for Hayes Gibson Property Services.

"So the growth is there, the growth is what you choose it to be," Creek said. "In the early years of the career, there's going to be a lot of learning that's going to take place. One of the biggest things that I can say is I love the hands-on because to me, I am ok with reading about it in a book, but I want to get my hands dirty."

Creek got into this line of work through a family business. He says it is important to be curious and ask a lot of questions.

Sometimes you work alone and sometimes you work in a team and he says he is always learning and trying to figure things out.

"I tell ya, some of the challenges is we as maintenance people have to wear different types of hats. We've gotta wear a plumbing hat. We've gotta wear an electrical hat," Creek said. "I don't have to sit at a desk all day long. I can get out there and I run into so many different things which makes it amazing, because you are not stuck doing one thing 8 hours a day 5 days a week. You are always being challenged with something new."

But with the uncertainty of what each day will hold, he says his days typically run 8 to 5.

He says he enjoys working with people and helping improve where people live and being able to fix something makes this job very rewarding.

"When you get something fixed, it's satisfying that you got it accomplished," Creek said.

If you are interested in applying for this apprenticeship and training opportunity, you can visit its website.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 7 and the program start date is Sept. 14.

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