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A Hiring Pipeline for Hopeful Plumbers

Local plumbing company Prime Plumbing has created a community-based hiring program that provides jobs to Anne Arundel County high school students.

BALTIMORE, Maryland – When Tom Shrum finished the plumbing program at the Center of Applied Technology North (CAT-N) in 2006, he wasn’t anticipating running a successful plumbing company just a few short years later. Now, in 2021, Prime Plumbing is not just a contender in Maryland’s skilled labor industry, but a champion for growing the profession. Much of the company’s success is directly attributed to hiring young, hard-working apprentices out of the same program that gave Shrum his start.

Unlike a trade school, CAT-N is part of the Anne Arundel County public school system and gives high school students a unique opportunity to try different jobs like welding, masonry, auto mechanics, or plumbing; after trying a few different jobs during their freshman year, students are given the opportunity to choose one program to stick with through their junior year. Upon completion of the program, they can then find employment through the work-study program during their senior year. 

“The CAT-N program gave me everything I needed to pursue a career in plumbing,” says Shrum. “I particularly enjoyed my teacher, Mr. Mac, who I continue to have a great relationship with. He still teaches in the program and continues to sculpt students who wish to get started in the industry. I’m confident those coming out of the program will have a solid foundation to build their careers at Prime Plumbing, and we have made it our mission to continue to hire them.”

When plumbers are given the right experience up front, they can quickly turn that success into a lifelong career. In just a few short years, many Prime apprentices are able to become journeymen which allows them to have their own truck and work on their own. Not long after that, they can become a Master Plumber which gives them the ability to tackle any task or even start their own business. 

This business model isn’t just great for students, it benefits the bottom line. Prime attributes its success to building a great internal employee pipeline (pun intended) that gives young apprentices the opportunity to work hard and develop a lifelong career. More than half of Prime’s employees that have come from CAT-N have become integral parts of the team. For Prime Plumbing, supporting the program is just another way of giving back to the community.

Over the summer, Prime hopes to add another three apprentices to the team. While CAT-N is always a great starting point, Prime will hire anyone who is willing to learn and work hard. Shrum’s advice to young people looking to get into the trade would be to have a strong work ethic, and a little patience. It can take some time to work your way up the ladder, but when you do, it will be well worth the wait. 

About Prime Plumbing: Prime Plumbing is a mid-sized plumbing company based in Glen Burnie, MD. Prime has been serving residential and commercial customers in and around Greater Baltimore since 2014.


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