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Carroll Daniel Construction welcomes second class of apprentices
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Carroll Daniel Construction held its signing day event for a new class of apprentices at the company headquarters in downtown Gainesville Thursday, July 23, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Five apprentices signed on to new careers Thursday as the second class of Carroll Daniel Construction’s apprenticeship program, a workforce development effort that gives early-career construction employees both classroom education and hands-on experience. 

The apprenticeship program launched last year. Apprentices complete 4,000 hours of paid training on Carroll Daniel job sites and take courses at Lanier Technical College for two years. When they finish the program, they may be eligible for a full-time position with Carroll Daniel as a field engineer. 

The program offers an accelerated path to a well-paying job after high school that can hopefully become a long-term career path, Carroll Daniel President Brian Daniel said.  

“It’s a career as opposed to a job. It’s something that there should be a lot of pride associated with,” Daniel said. “Construction is, you work hard for a year and a half on a project and at the end, there’s this tangible accomplishment that you can touch. You can drive by with your children and say, ‘I built this thing.’”  

Weston Davis, a North Hall High School graduate and one of the new apprentices, was enrolled in the carpentry program at Lanier Tech when he met the first class of apprentices and learned about the program. 

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Ashton Balizet takes part in the Carroll Daniel Construction signing day event for the firm's apprenticeship program Thursday, July 23, 2020, on the rooftop of their downtown Gainesville headquarters. Five apprentices are taking part in the program. - photo by Scott Rogers

Davis said he is looking forward to working at job sites and getting more firsthand experience.  

“I’ve always been hands-on,” he said. “Growing up with my grandpa, building stuff at his house, redoing his porch and all that. … I’m happy where I’m at.” 

Mitch Beccue is finishing his first year in the apprenticeship program, but he has been with Carroll Daniel since he was a senior at Gainesville High School and joined the company through the school’s work-based learning program. 

Beccue said that while the program has been challenging at times, he has been gaining valuable experience.  

“The more I learn and the further I go, it’s gone from being intimidating to exciting. Every job you go on, you rarely do the same thing twice,” he said. “You’re learning something new just about every day, and each project has its own challenges and benefits.” 

Beccue said the largest project he has worked on recently is the new East Forsyth High School, and apprentices are able to have increasing responsibilities on job sites as they gain superintendents’ trust. 

“Between school and on the job, you’re non-stop soaking up information,” he said. “I can definitely see that it’s going to push me along a lot quicker in my career.”