Laborers’ District Council Opens New Training Center In North Philadelphia
(PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA) - Samuel Staten, Jr. feels a sense of pride when he walks through the doors of the new Laborers’ District Council Training and Learning Center. His name graces the $30 million facility geared toward training the next generation of professional Construction Craft Laborers.
“It’s important that I see this school be successful,” Staten, who serves as Business Manager of Laborers’ Local Union 332 and as Vice President of Laborers’ International Union of North America, said as he recently spoke during the center’s grand opening ceremony. I know that this is not a ‘Sam Staten, Junior’ building. It’s a Laborers’ District Council building because I had partners.”
With that in mind, the 60,000-square-foot, three-story building features spaces named after Construction and Union Leaders such as Ryan N. Boyer, James N. Harper, Junior, Joseph M. Martosella, Senior and Esteban Vera, Junior.
Staten – who’s been part of the Labor Movement for almost 50 years, said he wants the school to give those who were formerly imprisoned a second chance and provide young people with opportunities: “We have to give them an opportunity. That’s what I hope this school will do for them, give them an opportunity, if they want it.”
Community members, Construction Union Officials, elected officials, judges all turned out on for the grand opening ceremony hosted by the Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity and Laborers’ Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET).
Mayor Jim Kenney spoke about how the center could help address the gun violence currently impacting some of Philadelphia’s youth: “This is the type of experience that is going to save our children. It’s going to save them from picking up a gun when they could pick up a tool. It’s going to save them from having to struggle and hustle in the street when they could go to a job site and they know that they are going to get paid - and know that they are going to get it every two weeks.”
The facility is at 1333 North Broad Street, at the site of the former William Penn High School.
Through a collaboration with Temple University, the center will increase the education and learning opportunities available to the surrounding community.
The building was supported by a $4.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant from the state.
“I am also grateful and proud of what this building represents for the Laborers’ of Philadelphia and Vicinity District Council,” said Esteban Vera Jr., who serves as Laborers Local 57’s Business Manager. “This was a collaboration of the leadership here in the Philadelphia and a vision that we’ve had for quite some time - and today we’ve realized that vision that’s come to life.”
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