About Us

People’s Inclusive Welding intends to curate a safe and supportive environment for underserved and underrepresented communities to participate in and successfully complete a welding training program as well as worker’s rights education so that they may enter into a high paying career within the blue collar industry. We aim to reshape New England’s current demographic of the blue collar industry by guiding well trained and highly informed individuals into positions of employment where they can succeed both as an employee and as a healthy and happy human being.

Take a deep dive and really get to know what we are all about

 

Team Members

Jan Wilkinson

Jan Wilkinson

Treasurer

An ally since at least the 80’s, Jan likes to use her organizational and bookkeeping skills for the greater good. In addition to People's Inclusive Welding, she volunteers with Pride Portland (Vice Chair, Treasurer Emerita). She has also volunteered with WMPG-FM (data entry / donor billing / donor database), and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center (data entry / onsite child care). On the home front, she is Trustee for her family’s Camp in Rangeley, reads a couple of novels a week, binge-watches TV series after they’ve been cancelled, snuggles her cat, and engages in silly word-play with her spouse. Somehow, she also makes sure to find time each week for her 9-5 job.
Audrey Gourlie

Audrey Gourlie

Coordinator

I grew up in Massachuestts and have been in Maine since 2013. I met Jo working at Po’ Boys and Pickles years ago and I am so thankful that our paths crossed in that greasy kitchen. Jo dreamed Portland Inclusive Welding into existing and I could not be happier to be involved. I grew up with family wealth and lived in a fairy tale bubble for a long time. I am continuously unlearning the false narrative that ability and effort dictate success as I see how much my privilege (race and class) opened doors and provided opportunities. I am grateful to be part of an organization that focuses on teaching those who historically have been denied opportunities to access high quality training and education.
Garrett FitzGerald

Garrett FitzGerald

Business Liaison

I’m a Canadian transplant from the Maritimes and have called Maine home since 1999. I live in Portland with my wife Tegan and our kiddo Felix. I’m a bit of a serial business guy with restaurants in Bar Harbor and Portland and a slew of other projects going on at any given time. For me, PIW is very simply, an investment in community. Providing career training to uplift underrepresented or financially insecure members of our community is a building block for the community itself, for the individual and for our marginalized neighbors. Nothing could be more rewarding than building community by investing in people who may otherwise have never had the opportunity to learn the skills of welding and begin amazing careers in the field.
Aaron Decker

Aaron Decker

Head of Fundraising

A jewelry artist, production manager for a design company, book lover, east coaster at heart, but a midwesterner based on geography - I've always loved Craft. My grandfather was a clockmaker based in Madison, ME - so working with my hands runs in the family. Like all good things queer, I found PIW through the community. What I love most about PIW is it’s honesty in providing a space where otherwise a space did not exist - something needed especially in welding and the crafts. One talk with Jo, and I was inspired to lend my skills! Before studying to become a jeweler, I initially went to school for writing. I LOVE editing and putting together pieces of writing - a great skill if you need to get some grant writing done :) As a queer male in the design and manufacturing industry, being a part of PIW is a dream. I am excited to help make space for individuals like myself and my queer family, a space I wish I had when coming up through my professional life.
Arlo Hennessey

Arlo Hennessey

Coordinator

I have been a staff organizer at the Southern Maine Workers' Center. I was drawn to PIW, because as a workers rights organizer I know the trades have a racism and inclusion issue. Manual labor is stigmatized and when it's not, the safe and good paying union jobs are prohibited through gate keeping which keeps otherwise qualified black, indigenous, immigrants, poc and lgbtqia+ people from ever making it in the door. If they make it that far they have to work twice as hard with twice the harassment just to prove themselves. I am fortunate to know so many labor organizers and rank and file members who work everyday to change this, but that doesnt always translate when the workers arent applying with good cause because of the stigma & harassment. So training up a qualified workforce, who knows their rights, worth and won't settle for less will be one part of making the changes so needed in these industries. As a black trans man with mixed heritage who grew up in New England, to me change is imperative. Black, indigenous, immigrant, poc and lgbtqia+ people are going to have a seat at the table, or these industries are gonna die. In a world where good employment is scarce, unions are losing their power, and racism is mounting, PIW has the potential to bring these pieces together. "A rising tide lifts all boats." I'm thrilled to be part of a team that will invest in our students and the industries they are placed in so that everyone thrives. I look forward to striving, making mistakes, and learning, but always moving the needle closer to progress. Past projects include; State-wide Maine campaign for Ranked choice voting, and community organizing for black liberation, and racial justice in Northern New England.
Jo Remillard

Jo Remillard

Lead Instructor

Former restaurant worker, bridge builder, shipyard welder and boilermaker. I’ve always been someone who works with my hands and wants tangible results. I’m a teacher some days, and a student every day. As a welder, I found myself being the only femme in most rooms. At first I thought, this is just the way it is, and I put up with all of the language you might expect from a white male dominated trade. As I grew older, my acceptance of this reality dissipated and I began to ask myself why there weren’t more women, people of color, or immigrants? Where are the Indigenous people? Folks with disabilities? Or anyone from the gay community?! Even if there were 1 or 2 people from these groups, why did they hold the less skilled, lower paying jobs? After the murder of George Floyd I became a student of anti-racism, and with that I began to realize that the position I held in my career was given to me through the inequitable advantages and privilege every white person is granted via systemic white supremacy. So I left my job and made it my goal to teach what I know to the people who might want the excitement, accolades and paycheck of a welder but have never been given the chance. You know what they say, leave it better than the way you found it, and I intend to.