New workforce training facility opens in Bangor

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Dead River Company and Eastern Maine Community College are teaming up to provide free workforce training to students.

Located on Hammond Street in Bangor, Dead River Institute North is a new training facility that offers a variety of programs. It held its grand opening Monday afternoon.

Right now, DRI North is preparing to graduate its inaugural Oil Burner Technician Class.

“It’s hands-on here. The instructors are really good. They make it real-life scenarios, so it’s not just learning out of a book,” said Trevor Veilleux, student technician.

The class of 10 students was the first to utilize the new space which boasts a variety of equipment these technicians will encounter in the field.

Instructor Bill Bickford says training has come a long way since he got his start in the industry 25 years ago.

“It was the school of hard knocks. Unfortunately, you might’ve made a mistake in the customer’s basement. So, this is a great place to learn. You can make mistakes, have problems, fix them. No cost to the customer,” said Bill Bickford, DRI North Instructor, Dead River Company.

The programs are funded through the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce.

They’re not limited to Dead River Company employees, either.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the community, and it really is a great example how the community college can support some of this industry training,” said Liz Russell, president, Eastern Maine Community College. “Having a facility like this in the community, this short-term training that leads to a credential of value is invaluable to this community.”

This is the second Dead River Institute location in Maine. The first opened in Sanford in 2018 and had 140 students go through the program last year alone.

While this is where they’ll start - there’s no telling where they’ll end up.

“It’s a great career. I went through this program at what is now Eastern Maine Community College 33 years ago. And so, if you have aspirations of growing within your company, this is a great place to come because I started out there, and now I’m President and CEO,” said Casey Cramton, Dead River Company.

For more information, click here.