DIY star will open today's apprenticeship forum

DIY: Kayleen McCabe, a general contractor, TV host, and marketer, is the keynote speaker for the two-day forum "Let's Get to Work – HireGuam" on Nov. 12-13. The Guam Department of Labor and the Guam Contractors Association is working together to organize the forum. Photo courtesy of

General contractor and do-it-yourself TV host Kayleen McCabe is the keynote speaker of a two-day forum focused on encouraging apprenticeship programs to help build Guam’s labor pool.

“I was fortunate enough to work on a television show where I met a master craftsman who would encourage and inspire me every day,” she says in a video shared by the Guam Contractors Association. “Suddenly, I wasn’t watching the clock. It didn’t matter when my day was over. I wanted to work until the project was finished. That passion and soul that was so deep it was almost like my own cup of coffee powering me – that moment and realization that this is what I’m meant to be doing. … What I wish more than anything, is that somebody would have told me in high school, ‘Kayleen, you could do this as a career.’”

From $15 to $100 an hour

Local officials have been trying to encourage more local workers to get into the trades, offering free to inexpensive training programs with partners including the Guam Community College, Guam Contractors Association and other organizations and businesses.

The forum, which starts today and will be held at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, also is part of the Guam Department of Labor Apprenticeship Office's effort to help local businesses thrive.

McCabe, an advocate of trade careers and education, was the star of five seasons of DIY Network's "Rescue Renovation," the show in which she renovated older, dilapidated homes and turned them into dream dwellings.

“I work in woodworking, and, so, a base salary could be anywhere between $15 to $20 an hour,” McCabe stated. “And the growth potential could be upwards of $100 an hour. It really depends on how hard you want to work. And what effort you want to put into this.”

‘You will always have a way to make money’

McCabe said even if a person learns a trade but doesn’t make a professional career out of it, they have an advantage.

“Give trades a chance because here is an opportunity; you can learn a skill where you can make a great hourly wage almost immediately. Then if you decide the trades aren’t for you, you can save money and then go to college and pursue something else or try another opportunity – but you will always have a way to make money. Start in the trades and then the sky is the limit.”

Attendees will also hear from other experts, education and training leaders and individuals actively working and learning in Guam Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

Forum highlights

The forum will also focus on:

• Success stories – from apprentice to journey worker;

• The Guam Registered Apprenticeship Program tax credit program;

• The Guam State Apprenticeship Agency’s expansion grants and how they can develop your business;

• How the GDOL Apprenticeship Office can develop and support your apprenticeship program; and

• Creating apprenticeship programs in nontraditional occupations.

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