Mahaila, a 3rd year registered union apprentice with the Operating Engineers from Cloquet, is 1,000 training work hours away from becoming a journeyworker. The majority of Mahaila’s work has been on the road in International Falls rebuilding roads from the Canadian border. “I like to travel, and this job has me travelling a lot. I like going to new places, enjoying the scenery,” Mahaila says.
The best part of being a 3rd year apprentice is that she is able to learn how to operate new equipment. “I told a journeyman that my goal is to be able to jump into any piece of equipment and know how to use it like he can. That’s how I’ll be most valuable, to be versatile.”
At 25, she’s eager to start her career and looks forward to completing her training. “I have a paycheck, health care, retirement – all those adult things you need. A lot of people say they are proud of me, I’m proud of myself.”
The best advice she can give anyone looking to start a career in the building trades: “Go to the union hall, talk to people, ask questions.”