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Jessica Paquette is a 3rd year apprentice out of Local 330 and is currently working at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham.
Prior to joining the Carpenters union, Paquette served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years. Transitioning back to civilian life, she worked as a correctional officer for two years but knew it wasn’t the right fit for her long-term. Struggling to find the right path started to take its toll on her physically and emotionally and she knew she “needed a change”. She reached out to her good friend and fellow NASRCC Sister Shanae Pina.
“I remember her [Shanae] saying to me all of the good things the union provides and how much she loves it,” said Jessica. “Seeing someone that I know show so much passion for their career was all that I needed to take the leap of faith and contact Local 330.”
Once accepted, Jessica’s excitement grew daily about her career choice of working with her hands, becoming knowledgeable in a skilled trade, having access to free training and a career that she could be proud of. But that didn’t sideline the nerves.
“My first day at my first job site I was beyond nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. I was welcomed by all of the carpenters on site so much so that I am still with the same company, Central Ceilings, being trained well and afforded tremendous opportunities within the company and the UBC,” the 28-year old says.
“Being an apprentice is intimidating, you’re working alongside people who have been working this career for a long time, some longer than you’ve been alive. While that can be intimidating I personally try to soak it all up. Decades upon decades of knowledge and “tricks of the trade” are at your fingertips, all that you have to do to learn them is show up and show initiative.”
The apprenticeship training and tips from her fellow Brothers and Sisters on the jobsite allow Jessica to be very proud of her work. She boasts two projects in particular: the MGM Music Hall in Boston which is attached to Fenway Park, and the Michael Driscoll Elementary in Brookline.
Her advice? “Anyone who wants to join the Brother and Sisterhood, do it. The worst thing that’ll happen is you learn a lot, make fair wages, earn a pension and annuity AND have good benefits.”
“Becoming a carpenter has afforded me opportunities that I otherwise would not have. The camaraderie in the union is similar to the Marine Corps in that you will have your partners back, look out for each other etc.” The list goes on.