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Construction & Design

Youth training program aims to stem trades shortgage

The Westchester-Putnam Building and Construction Trades Council has partnered with Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, the City of Yonkers, and the Yonkers IDA to train young residents in the construction trades.

The IDA approved spending up to $250,000 to form the Yonkers Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) program, a five-week training course for Yonkers residents aged 18 to 24.

the program teaches the basic skills of different trades and provides trainees with direct entry into a career in construction.

“I don’t expect them to come in as construction workers,” said Dominique Bravo, executive director of P2A “but we have 175 hours to prepare them. They have been working hard and learning skills to achieve a good paying career in our industry.”

The project comes and the nation faces a shortage of skilled tradesmen and a national coalition has been formed to attract a younger population to eventually address the workforce crisis.

The Associated General Contractors of America survery recently found that 79 percent of New York companies are having a hard time filling craft positions and 56 percent believe it will get harder to hire those positions in the coming year.

Many companies throughout the nation were forced to change how they do things to address the situation, including increasing their employees’ pay and benefits, hiring interns, offering more in-house training and utilizing labor-saving tech.

The staffing challenges have forced companies to increase the cost and estimated completion time of their projects, raising their bids for projects at the same time.

Many state chapters of AGC have been working with local middle school or high school groups to try and convince children of the success they can find in construction.

In Westchester, along with classroom instruction, the students are given an inside look at participating union trades state-of-the-art training centers.

During a visit to the Laborers Local 60 Training Center in Brewster, they were given a tour of the two-year-old facility by Leadership from Laborers’ Local 60s and the Cement and Concrete Unions.

The Laborers Local 60 training program offers courses in over 50 different disciplines of construction with an emphasis on worksite safety and productivity.

“Not every classroom has walls,” says Local 60 training director Frank Bisignano. “We give our students the right expertise and hands-on experience to transition them directly into a job. There’s always going to be new skills that are required and we have to stay on the cutting edge.”

The students got some hands-on practice in scaffolding, fusion 2-inch gas pipes, a cutting and burning station, a jack hammer station and a crane singling station.

Participants who finish the program receive a certificate making them eligible to work on union construction projects.

“We have been scheduling interviews with our partner construction unions and our students are excited for the opportunities ahead. They will graduate from the program with a clearly defined career path in their chosen trade,” said Dominique Bravo, Executive Director of P2A.

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