HATHORNE – Superintendent Heidi Riccio is pleased to share that Essex Tech students are receiving free work boots through an emerging partnership with a North Reading manufacturer.
Representatives of Brunt WorkWear arrived at Essex Tech on Thursday, March 24, in two trucks holding about 400 pairs of boots. Brunt has made four previous donations to the school of about 100 pairs of boots each time.
Founder and CEO Eric Girouard grew up in a working-class family, and started the e-commerce company three years ago after more than a decade in leadership positions at several businesses. Girouard collaborated with friends from his hometown in Connecticut to design six styles of boots and several types of apparel that meet the needs of workers in specific trades. (He named the items after those friends.)
He began working with Essex Tech through a connection to the school’s Landscape & Turf Management Advisory Committee.
“As a company, we want to have an impact globally,” Girouard said. “To do that we have to start by making an impact locally. These students are the future of the trades, so this is an important event for us.”
Students in the Carpentry, Construction Craft Laborers, Electrical, Landscape & Turf Management, Masonry & Tile Setting, and Plumbing pathways lined up to request boots; if they liked the fit, they kept them. Students who could not receive the boots of their choice will obtain them at a later visit.
“It’s a great program, and a great opportunity,” Director of Career Technical Education Donald Ducharme said. “Safety is always a priority for our school, and this reinforces the importance of safety as they move on in their careers.”
“The need for social impact is significant. Eric understands that,” Superintendent Riccio said. “One thing COVID-19 taught us was the importance of local businesses. He is helping our students get their start in the trades, and stay in the trades.”
Superintendent Riccio added that the donation also teaches students about the importance of having high-quality equipment.
“If you are on your feet eight hours each day, you need a good-fitting boot,” she said.
Girouard intends to visit Essex Tech several more times this school year, and provide a pair of work boots to every one of the 1,600 students who would like them.
“We want you to be healthy, and build long and successful careers,” Girouard told students.