by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection
About this time last year, I sat down with Lisa Z Burns at Zurn Plumbing and wrote the following article…Zurn Plumbing – Did you know the owners are DHS grads/siblings? I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Lisa and her dad.
Well, Lisa invited me back last week to talk about their Plumber Apprentice Program. The timing was perfect because now is the time of year that people can’t stop themselves from asking high school seniors….”Where are you going to college?” Both of my boys HATED that question because they were undecided for so long and my 2020 DHS grad had planned to take a gap year first. Other kids may hate that question because they have ZERO interest in a traditional college experience. I asked my boys and they suggested a better question might be….”What are your plans after high school?”
College is not always the best fit for all humans so when I hear about programs like the Zurn apprentice program, I love to share the details. Here’s the scoop:
According to Lisa, “Zurn is always hiring!” If any of these traits apply to you or someone you know, keep reading!
- Like to work with their hands
- Mechanically minded
- Like new challenges daily
- Like being out and about rather than behind a desk all day
- Possess good communication skills
- Prioritize safety
There are only a limited number of trade schools in Georgia so if you are interested in plumbing, Zurn seems to be the way to go. Zurn apprentices do not pay for their training but rather Zurn pays them while they learn! Zurn refers to the concept as EARN while you LEARN.
Zurn apprentices are full-time employees who receive full benefits including paid vacation, paid holidays, health benefits and of course…a full uniform including work boots! Starting pay is $17-$19 per hour based on prior experience. On their first day of work, they show up in their new uniform and are assigned a technician as their “guide” for the day. Apprentices rotate with different technicians to learn different styles and projects. They watch, take instruction, assist and learn new things every day.
In addition to the hands-on training, they are also given coursework to complete using the Nextstar Network. Nexstar is a member-owned organization that drives business growth and development through continued education and the sharing of ideas. Nextstar offers training for every position in the company. The Nextech Academy software for plumbing apprentices typically takes 18-20 months to complete.
Currently Zurn employs ten apprentices. Currently, all are young men ranging from late teens to mid-thirties. Lisa was quick to point out although they don’t have any at this time, they certainly would consider women applicants who have enthusiasm for the trade. In addition to the ten apprentices, they employ fifteen plumbers. Six work on larger projects and seven are service technicians all supervised by 2 experienced field managers. Fun fact: a handful of the Zurn technicians have college degrees. Another fun fact: many of the Zurn apprentices over the years have started out by having summer jobs during high school and college and then coming back to Zurn to apprentice and become full-time master plumbers.
All along, Ted Zurn’s philosophy has been to hire and train technicians to be excellent at customer service and produce high-quality workmanship. Ted created the apprentice program so he could train employees “his way”! Click here to learn more about the Zurn Training Program. Other than maintenance calls for clogs, Zurn plumbers also specialize in gas lines,
water and sewer main repairs and replacements, installation of dishwashers and appliance hook-up, garbage disposals, and even the repair and installation of ice maker water lines. I already have two projects in mind for my rental house and I’ll be calling Zurn to handle them!