PORTLAND – WordLab, a communications apprenticeship program in Portland, has announced the hiring of its first two apprentice cohorts. The firm provides results-driven communications and public relations services to small businesses and nonprofits in Maine and northern New England. It opened its doors to clients with a soft launch in February 2019.
The apprentices – who will each hold the title of client associate – bring a mix of skills, education and experience ranging from social media management in Maine to nonprofit work in India. WordLab has already hired out-of-state apprentices from Florida and Ohio, an apprentice returning to Maine after college and native Mainers from four counties.
“The opportunity to attract young professionals to Maine while also keeping homegrown talent here was a driving force behind WordLab,” said Linda Varrell, owner. “And the diverse backgrounds of these first two cohorts have already proven to be a big asset.”
The first apprentice cohort of four started in February and has begun successfully working with several clients, securing a feature story on a local news network and written pieces in print publications. The second cohort of three began working in June.
To be considered for the apprenticeship role, an associate’s degree is preferred, or the equivalent work experience. The apprenticeship duration is 12 months. WordLab is certified by the Maine Department of Labor’s Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP) and has received funding from the City of Portland. It will use its uncommon business model to serve clients that otherwise could not afford a full-service agency.
The apprentices will work directly with Varrell and Program Director Wayne Clark, a former communications executive at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, and Maine Medical Center. The close working relationship between apprentices and senior leadership will ensure active, on-the-job training and classroom instruction for each cohort along with quality service for clients.
About the Apprentices
Katherine Hulit is a client associate with international public relations experience in the fields of public service, activism and entertainment.
Brian Lee joined WordLab as a client associate in February. Originally from Miami, he moved to Portland from Boston, where he earned a masters in journalism from Boston University.
Kyle Walton joined WordLab after spending one year in the University of Maine’s Digital Curation program. He brings about a decade of experience in new media work.
Glendon Zernicke joined the WordLab team as a client associate after graduating in 2018 from the University of Southern Maine, where he received a bachelors in communications and media studies.
Sacha Kiesman joined WordLab as a client associate after graduating with honors from the University of Southern Maine, where she earned a bachelors in communication and minors in public relations and political science.
Scott Michael is from Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in strategic communications and a minor in music business.
Lauren Whitney is a client associate and southern Maine native. She is looking forward to working in her home state after earning her bachelors in communications from East Carolina University.
WordLab is a learning lab that will bring together apprentices in a supervised environment to work with real-world clients on communications and marketing projects to gain the necessary skills to advance their careers. For small businesses and nonprofits with limited budgets and resources to raise their profile and achieve their goals, WordLab can provide access to results-driven communications and public relations services they can afford through a unique workforce solution. To learn more, visit wordlabpr.com.
WordLab is a City of Portland Community Development Assisted Project.