Apprenticeship Program For Upper Manhattan Residents Graduates Its Third Cohort In Virtual Ceremony - Pre-Apprenticeship Program Helps Minorities, Women & Upper Manhattan Residents Obtain Union Construction Apprenticeships
(MANHATTAN, NEW YORK) - A six-week Pre-Apprenticeship Program, delivered by Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) in partnership with the West Harlem Development Corporation, New York City Department of Small Business Services and Columbia University, certifies participants with key skills and required safety trainings needed to qualify for an Apprenticeship opportunity with local Construction Unions, setting them on a career path toward stable jobs with good benefits.
This year, the program was led in a hybrid model due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic, meeting via Zoom four days a week and one day at Riverbank State Park for hands-on training in blueprint reading, tool identification, hands-on saw safety, identifying construction hazards and more. The student-centered training model also incorporated civic engagement and wellness activities, including yoga.
“Everyone involved collaborated in creative ways to make the program a success during this unpredictable and challenging time. We look forward to continue building careers and community by creating additional opportunities for our Upper Manhattan neighbors to work with local Construction Unions,” said Christine Salto, who serves as Assistant Director of Columbia University Facilities and Operations.
This year’s group of 20 participants – consisting mostly of West Harlem residents – had broad interests based on their past experiences in Construction Trades - and some personal connections as well.
For Robert “Poh” Sanchez, the P2A Program taught him more about his interests and gave him something positive to focus on during a time he felt hopeless.
In July, he was reeling from tragedy after his younger brother was murdered.
A Laborers Local 79 Union Member, Robert’s brother had always encouraged Robert to join a Union and had shared a program flyer before his death.
Joining the P2A Program was something Robert felt he had to do: “My hope after P2A is to get into a Union, gain more skills, and one day live out my dream of building houses in Honduras, where my family is from, and where there is a lot of poverty and homelessness. Mostly, I hope I make my brother proud.”
For Robert and the rest of the cohort after graduation, the program schedules interviews with local Construction Unions for available Apprenticeships and provides résumé assistance, interview coaching and aptitude test preparation.
“P2A is thrilled to have successfully graduated another cohort with our partners in Harlem. While the pandemic has made our programming more difficult, it has also made its importance all the more clear. We look forward to helping create career opportunities for low-income New Yorkers and working towards an economic recovery that benefits those who need it most,” Pathways to Apprenticeship Executive Director Melissa Shetler said.
To date, the program has graduated 78 students, including eight Women, helping graduates land jobs on construction sites, including one at Columbia’s Manhattanville Development.
The P2A Program hopes to help an additional cohort based in West Harlem break into the construction industry next year.
To Directly Access This Apprenticeship And Training Labor News Story, Go To: https://cufo.columbia.edu/news/pathways-apprenticeship-p2a-program-upper-manhattan-residents-graduates-its-third-cohort