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Skilled to Work: Finishers priming and painting at new Moline High School athletic facility

Skilled workers with the Quad City Finishing Contractors Association enjoy good union pay and benefits

MOLINE, Illinois — Inside the new athletic facility at Moline High School, skilled workers with the Quad City Contractors Association could be seen applying primer to interior hallways, locker rooms, and the new weight room. 

Apprentice painter Lauren Colbrese is now just a few months away from completing her three-year apprenticeship, learning while she works on job sites like this. 

"Just because it's something different, and a lot of people look at it as a man's job, but I can come in here and do it just as good as they can," she said.

She was attracted to the job for good union pay and benefits. Soon, she will be a journeyman like foreman painter Dan Lincoln. 

"Oh yeah, they take care of you," Lincoln said. "We're all a big family. Not to be cliche but we look after each other and take care of each other."

He could be seen applying primer on a drywall surface inside one of the new locker rooms. After applying with a spray gun, he smoothed it over with a roller. 

"You go over what you just sprayed and smooth it out and make it look pretty and get any imperfections out," Lincoln said. 

That's a technique Colbrese has learned as an apprentice, as well. 

"From start to end you see the difference in what you did, the progress," she said.