Success story: Matthew Demery
Student in the Spotlight
The Tender Training Program offered by the Arizona Masonry Guild and the Arizona Masonry Contractors Association may seem, to some, too good to be true. Six days (48 hours) of intensive, hands-on training resulting in a new career option – all for free? You bet.
Just ask Matthew Demery, who was at a point when he was ready to take a risk and build a better life for himself. Demery credits the program with putting his life and future on the right course.
“I saw a listing on Craigslist that said I could show up for a free training program,” Demery says. “It said they’d provide the free training and explained how to be prepared, and to be ready to work hard.
In addition to learning how to build scaffolding, mix mortar, set up a station and more, Demery left the program with his OSHA training card. He is particularly proud of that accomplishment and says it helps him on the jobsite during day-to-day activities.
“The program was great,” he says. “They gave us tools, they provided us t-shirts, the fed us…and in six days, I felt really prepared to go on a jobsite and work.”
As a football fan, Demery calls the hiring process that occurs at the end of the program “ingenious.” Contractors watch the students perform their different tasks in a “tender combine” of sorts, and then are able to “draft” the workers they want.
Two months ago, Demery and one of his teammates during the combine – who is now his friend – were hired by Sun Valley Masonry in Phoenix. “I owe Sun Valley a huge debt for hiring me and want to be a good employee. I feel 100 percent comfortable doing the work. I work with guys with good hearts who feel more like friends than coworkers.”
Becoming a mason is Demery’s next goal. After all, it runs in the family: He only recently found out from his uncle that his own grandfather – who he only saw about three times – had been a mason. What a happy coincidence.
About the Author
J. David Holt, freelance writer and owner of Holt Marketing Group Inc., has been reporting on the SkillsUSA National Masonry Contest since 1994.