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Fair trade as pair swaps burger flipping for bright future

An apprenticeship program changed the lives of a fast food worker and a taxi driver.

Byron Carchipulla, a former Burger King employee from Queens, is now a skilled sheet metal worker.

And Marcin Chrostowski, a former waiter and cab driver from Brooklyn, is a plumber. Both hasve careers that provide them secure futures thanks to an apprenticeship program thanks to their new employers and the not-for-profit Oriska Jobs and Careers Center.

The two men made the trip to the SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx two night a week to master their trade. On May 23, their commitment paid off when they graduated with a Certificate of Completion in the Related Instruction phase of their apprenticeship training programs.

The certificate is recognized by the Department of Education and Department of Labor and puts them on the path to receive a certificate for having achieved journeyman status in the skilled trades.

“This program is designed to ensure students have a career for life,” said James Kernan, director at Oriska Jobs and Careers Center.  “While they attend class in the evening, they work during the day at a prevailing wage job. Once they graduate, they can make a living in the skilled trades and support a family.”

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Marcin Chrostowski,

Ecuadorian-born Carchipulla completed a four-year program which included over 600 hours of classroom instruction as well as 6,810 hours of on-the-job training.

The young father-of-one credits his training for giving him the skills to support a family. “It has been exciting to be part of this program,” he said. “I will totally recommend this program to new workers.”

Polish-born Chrostowski completed a five year program which included over 1,159 hours of classroom instruction as well as 8,501 hours of on-the-job training. Chrostowski said, “I’m going to be the best I can be. I will soon be a licensed plumber and able to work anywhere thanks to my training.”

Pictured at recent graduation are (from left to right) Byron Carchipulla, OJCC Director Jim Kernan and Marcin Chrostowski.

Pictured at recent graduation are (from left to right) Byron Carchipulla, OJCC Director Jim Kernan and Marcin Chrostowski.

The Oriska Jobs and Career Center is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to affording disadvantaged communities skills and career opportunities.

Students can learn trades ranging from carpentry, electrician, plumbing, steam fitting, masonry, ornamental Iron worker, roofer, operating engineer, electrician, and skilled laborer.

The program, which initially started upstate in 1990, moved to the SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx in 2000 to provide opportunities for those throughout the five boroughs. For more information visit www.ojcc.org.

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