GE Apprentice Program hosting reunion for alumni

The GE Apprentice Program Alumni Association is hosting a reunion for all those who were apart of the program on Sept. 22. (Julia Hopkins)

LYNN — The GE Apprentice Program Alumni Association is hosting a reunion for all those who were a part of the program. The event will be taking place on Friday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton/Danvers. We are currently trying to spread the news to ensure that anyone who was apart of this program, knows that they are invited to this celebration. At this year’s reunion, there will be a special guest speaker – Capt. Rob Potter, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. He flies Jayhawk helicopters (similar to the Blackhawks that were at Lynn plant last month) powered by our GE-T700 engines.

Contact Tom Woo or send a check – $75 per person payable to (Tom Woo) 40 Riverside Dr, North Reading, MA. 01864. His email address is [email protected]. Venmo is an option as well, contact for details.

Located near the banks of the Saugus River and home of one of the original GE Aviation facilities, it was here in the early 1940s that General Electric revolutionized air travel by designing, manufacturing, and demonstrating America’s first successful jet engine.

Now, more than 80 years later, GE Aviation has become the world’s leading producer of jet engines for commercial and military aircraft. Its Lynn plant is a centerpiece to the local economy. It employs 2,500 workers, making it the largest employer in Lynn and one of the largest on the entire North Shore. It continues to develop groundbreaking products while functioning as a reminder of milestones in aviation history.

General Electric was born (well, sort of) in Lynn, formed by an 1892 merger between the North Shore plant and a New York facility, and it played a huge role in the Second Industrial Revolution.

For decades, GE’s renowned apprenticeship program lured young people to the Lynn plant. The apprenticeship program was founded in 1902 and graduated its last class in 1989. The Lynn apprenticeship program had the distinction of being one of the longest-running apprentice programs, and graduated thousands of young men and women.

In Lynn, the apprentices were exposed to everything from management training to the manufacturing floor, where workers built and tested engines for military aircraft and commercial airplanes. It was a 3.5-year program that paid students full-time wages to go to school. The program was a comprehensive immersion into machining and learning the workings of the factory. Many of the graduates went on to become GE engineers, planners, foremen, machinists or other related jobs that they qualified for on the factory floor. Some of those graduates rose through the ranks and became leaders of GE businesses, as well. The company invested in its workforce and it paid dividends to the company. When the program ended in 1989, workers were worried as the company seemed to be getting away from manufacturing. Since then, there have been several machinist-training programs established as the company has recognized its need of a skilled workforce. Thereby a revised training program has been established most recently since 2020.

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