Students Meet Union Building Trades To Explore Career Opportunities
Students from 24 high schools in the four counties of the lower Hudson Valley were invited to explore apprenticeship and career opportunities in the Building Trades once they graduate from high schools.
Apprentice trainer Erik Cantamessa of Bricklayers Local 1 helps one of more than 500 students who attended hands-on demonstrations at the Construction Career Expo at Rockland Community College on April 28.
From left, State Assemblyman David Buchwald of Westchester, State Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski of Rockland, a host of students from area high schools, (third from right) Ross J. Pepe of the Construction Industry Council and Building Contractors Association, with Thomas Kleiner of the Department of Labor (retired), and Edward Doyle of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties.
Union Building Trades Discuss Apprenticeship, Career Opportunities
RAMAPO, NY—More than 500 high school students from the lower Hudson Valley met with some two dozen construction and building union leaders and private-company employers on April 28 at the Rockland Community College Field House to learn about career opportunities in the region—from commercial and institutional to heavy/highway and manufacturing.
The building trade unions in the region are projected to see a growing shortage of workers in the next five years to perform commercial construction and public works projects. To reinvigorate the labor force with younger workers, Construction Career Day was staged to educate high school students about both the diverse career pathways and opportunities as a member of the building trades.
One leading employer group said the shortage is a major concern. “It’s important to constantly replenish the rank and file with qualified, well-trained recruits,” said Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council and the Building Contractors Association. “We see the shortage for skilled labor running across most unionized sectors of the building and construction industries with long-delayed projects.”
Edward Doyle, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties, Inc., one of the lead presenters of the Career Day expo, noted, “There is an overwhelming amount of infrastructure renewal of our roads and bridges, our clean water, waste water and aging utilities that must be repaired and improved. The public infrastructure facilities that we see every day out our car windows were built by skilled labor workers as many as three to four generations ago. Many of the members of the Building Trades have retired over the past decade, and now is the time to replenish these men and women.”
Mr. Doyle added, “But we’re not replacing our retiring workers fast enough. It’s time for our nation to begin again to reach out to attract qualified and capable recruits who will help build our future.”
Students who enter the trades after high school will be expected to have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. (general equivalency diploma) in order to qualify for bona fide apprenticeship training programs. There are more than 20 trades represented among the building and construction trade unions. For more information about the program and job opportunities in the Building Trades, contact the Building & Construction Trades Council (Westchester/ Putnam) at (914) 762-2492, (Rockland) 845-634-4633, and the (Hudson Valley) at (845) 565-2737.
For more information on Construction Career Day, contact Matthew Pepe of the BCA at (914) 631-6070.