SUFFERN, NY—More than 750 local high school students got an up-close look at construction trade-career opportunities in the region at the annual Hudson Valley Construction Career Day held on Fri., April 12.
Students filled the Rockland Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern, NY and discovered and explored the tools of the trades straight from the experts. Leaders of construction and building unions and private-sector companies helped students participate in hands-on, skill-building demonstrations such as welding, carpentry and soldering. In addition to seeing many of the diverse careers in the building trades, students also learned about the advantages of apprenticeship training.
Each year, the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. (CIC) and the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson, Inc. (BCA) host Construction Career Day to reinvigorate the industry’s labor force with young talent. The event is marking its 20th year of supporting tomorrow’s workforce.
“This is a great way to show our youth the many opportunities available to them in the trades,” said Ross J. Pepe, president of the CIC and BCA. “We’re seeing a growing shortage of skilled labor in our building and construction industries, so it’s important we raise awareness about the good-paying jobs out there and the benefits of apprenticeships. We must work together to strengthen our workforce, our communities and our overall economy.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day praised the program. “I couldn’t be prouder to support this great initiative. All too often our young people are not told about all of their true options. …These jobs put food on the table and allow you to have a good family life and home.”
“I love these kinds of days,” said Jane Thompson, director of apprenticeship training at the New York State Department of Labor. “The ability to give New Yorkers a chance to have a career (and) get paid from day one. I’d love to see more.”
New York State Assembly members Ellen Jaffe, D-Suffern, and Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, and other local officials were also in attendance and applauded the initiative.
In the building and construction trades, registered apprenticeship programs provide participants with a high-quality, portable and nationally-recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency in the construction industry. Programs follow a “learn-while-you-earn” model, as participants obtain wages that are graduated upward as the apprentice accumulates greater skills and experience on the job. Students looking to qualify for bona fide apprenticeship opportunities will be expected to have a high school diploma or equivalent GED.
There are more than 20 trades represented among the building and construction trade unions. For information about apprenticeship programs and job opportunities, contact the Building & Construction Trades councils: of Westchester & Putnam at 914-762-2492; of Rockland at 845-634-4633; and, of the Hudson Valley at 845-565-2737. For information about the Construction Industry Council, please visit www.cicnys.org or call Matthew Pepe, 914-631-6070, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. is a professional trade organization, representing more than 600 contractors, suppliers, consultants and other professionals who service the construction and building industries. The CIC maintains day-to-day contact with local and state government officials who own and manage much of the region’s infrastructure and institutional facilities.
The Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson, Inc., provides fast, reliable information to its members on virtually every subject related to building construction. Its primary mission is to improve conditions by negotiating labor agreements with local trades; lobbying local, state and federal governments to secure capital spending and beneficial laws; dispersing information about public and private bid lettings and awards; educating industry members on the latest requirements of laws, rules and regulations affecting daily operations; and, providing many networking opportunities for members.
Union Building Trades Showcase To Students Career Opportunities
A high school student from Orange-Ulster BOCES witnesses a welding demonstration by Pete Marcyan of Ironworkers Local 580 in Long Island City. Marcyan is an instructor in the Union’s apprenticeship program.
Carlos Gonzales, Laborers Local 60 in Hawthorne, demonstrates a jackhammer with Grecia Melendez, 16, a student at S.S. Steward Institute in Florida, N.Y.
Stephen Herbert, right, of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 1 NY demonstrates masonry skills to Indiana Bencosme, 17, a senior at Sleepy Hollow High School during the 2019 Hudson Valley Construction Career Day expo at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY.
Vincent Cortesi, left, of Laborers Local 60 in Hawthorne, demonstrates a “confined space rescue” with Sleepy Hollow student Jeury Gonzales, 15, as a fellow student looks on.
Marco Mendoza of Laborers Local 60 in Hawthorne, shows students how to fuse plastic pipes.
From left: Ken Potter, president of Local 21 Plumbers & Steamfitters Union of Peekskill; Lucy Redzeposki, advisor to the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson, Inc.; Ed Doyle, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties; New York State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern); Rockland County Executive Ed Day; Ross Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc.; Craig Jacobs, training director of IBEW Local Union 363 of Harriman; Dan Keeley of Rockland Community College; and Robert Dutra, training director of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 38 of Brewster, NY. Photo Credits: Ed Cody
RAMAPO, NY—More than 600 high school students from the lower Hudson Valley will meet with some two dozen construction and building union leaders and private-company employers this spring to learn about career opportunities in the building trades. The event, called “Hudson Valley Construction Career Day,” will be held Fri., April 12, at Rockland Community College here.
Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Construction Career Day is presented by the Westchester-Putnam Counties Consortium for Worker Education and Training, Inc.; the Building Contractors Association (BCA), the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services and three leading Building & Construction Trades Councils in the downstate region.
Construction, one of the nation’s largest industries, is facing a chronic labor shortage. Recent Department of Labor figures project a national shortfall of skilled trade workers, and that shortfall is expected to grow dramatically in the coming decade. Why? A recent snapshot of the labor force found that more than 71 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older, with 18.6 percent of that group between the ages of 55 and 64.
To reinvigorate the labor force with younger workers, Construction Career Day will be staged to educate high school students about both the diverse career pathways and opportunities as a member of the building trades.
If the trend continues, the building trade unions in the region are projected to see an even larger shortage of workers in the next five years to perform commercial construction and public works projects.
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 of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. “We see the shortage for skilled labor running across most unionized sectors of the building and construction industries in the region – from commercial and institutional to heavy/highway and manufacturing.”
Many factors are contributing to the shortage, Mr. Pepe added. “There is considerable construction activity right now caused by a resurgence in the economy since 2010. Despite slowly climbing interest rates, developers and builders—and even the owners of public works facilities—are still prompted to go forward 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 this workforce.”
He 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 GED. (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) at 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.