Apprenticeship
by IUPAT 82

A Great Opportunity

“I wish someone would have told me about this when I was graduating from high school!” That’s what Ramona Sebion says about the IUPAT Painting Apprenticeship Program and the opportunity to build a career as a painter with District Council 82. For a busy wife and mother of two children, it has turned out to be a great way to build the skills she needs for a successful career.

“I love industrial painting because there’s variety each day,” explains Sebion. “You do sand blasting and other things, so you’re not just rolling paint on the walls every day.” As part of her apprenticeship program, she works at Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant, which is just about ten minutes from her home in Red Wing, Minnesota. She appreciates the easy commute, which is why she hopes to have the opportunity to stay there long-term. Previously working as a nursing assistant, Sebion heard about the painting apprenticeship program from her husband’s cousin, who is a foreman at Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant. 

“What I like about the apprenticeship is that I won’t have a big tuition bill for my training,” says Sebion. “As I work, 50 cents per hour is going toward my tuition.” She believes that’s an important selling point for people looking for career training, including high school students who are deciding what to do after graduation.

“It’s hard work,” admits Sebion, “but every day I’m learning. I’m earning money, I have benefits and I’m building up a pension for retirement.” With a husband who’s a pipefitter, she understood the value of training and union membership. Now she’s glad to be building a career in industrial painting, an opportunity that is making a real difference to her and her family.