Union Elevator Apprenticeship Training Creates Pathway to Success

Jack Demmel

How many individuals do you know who were able to afford buying their own house through hard earned wages before they were old enough to buy a beer?

ElevatorInfo recently caught up with a young man who did just that. Jack Demmel, a fourth-year apprentice in the organized elevator industry, will sit for the Mechanic Examination in 2023.

“Once I’ve successfully completed the Mechanic Examination, I’ll no longer be classified as an apprentice,” said Demmel. “I’ll advance to mechanic status.”

The 22-year-old shared with us his journey to the elevator trade. While Demmel did grow up around plenty of people who made a name for themselves in the elevator industry, his path was not necessarily a traditional one.

“I had the grades for college, so after graduating from high school, I gave college life a shot,” said Demmel. “I ended up at Prince George’s Community College for a single semester – then I realized that I was actually happiest when working with my hands. For me, a fulfilling career would challenge me both mentally and physically.”

After completing the recruitment process, Demmel soon was hired as a union elevator constructor and began taking classes through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), a U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship program offering craft training – in the classroom and also in the field – for all employees covered by the agreement between signatory contractors and the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC).

“NEIEP has been great. Not only have I participated in online and in-person classroom training, I have also been provided with a variety of hands-on training opportunities,” said Demmel.

When asked about his early days in NEIEP compared to his experience now as a fourth-year apprentice, Demmel expressed that NEIEP’s training is the reason he feels confident working in such a complex trade.

“I’ve always felt that I was mechanically inclined, but being a smart, safe mechanic requires more than a general knowledge of how to fix things,” said Demmel. “Thanks to my NEIEP instructors and the leadership at IUEC Local 10, everything I do feels like second nature. What’s more, I have found lasting friendships within the elevator trade. The people I study with and work alongside all have a team-first mentality – I’m very happy.”

Demmel went on to explain that, as far as enrollment fees and other charges related to NEIEP, there have been no out-of-pocket costs. People from all walks of life are welcome to participate in the recruitment process. This opens the door to a rewarding career, family-sustaining wages, and a dignified retirement – thanks to the training funded by contributions from IUEC signatory contractor partners.

“If young people are ready to work hard to secure the future they want for themselves and their families, the union elevator industry is a smart path to take,” said IUEC Local 10 Business Manager and IUEC Executive Board Vice President John O’Connor. “The earn-as-you-learn approach means our apprentices don’t incur student debt. Instead, they earn wages and benefits as they learn the elevator trade. It is a career choice that I wish more hardworking young people knew about – and knew about sooner.”