SUFFERN, NY -- Students from across the Hudson Valley filled the Rockland Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern on March 6 to learn about diverse careers in the construction and building trades and the advantages of apprenticeship training. Union representatives and private-sector companies worked with the teens to take part in hands-on skill-building demonstrations such as welding, carpentry and soldering.
Hosted by the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. (CIC) and the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson, Inc. (BCA), Construction Career Day is designed to reinvigorate the industry’s labor force with young talent. The event is marking its 21st year of supporting tomorrow’s workforce.
“Apprenticeships offer the youth an opportunity to learn critical skills in the trades and prepare them to land good-paying jobs right in their communities,” said Matthew Pepe, executive director of the CIC and BCA. “We’re expecting to see significant investments in infrastructure at the federal level, which will mean even more opportunities for growth in our region’s building and construction industries. We're proud to be a part of this important effort to strengthen our workforce, invest in our communities and benefit our overall economy.”
Rockland County executive, Ed Day, praised the program. “I am proud to again be here hosting Construction Career Day,” he said. “All too often, schools put value on college and don’t put good value on the trades. The trades offer a tremendous option for our young people.”
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, R-99th District, described the trades as “the backbone of the middle class.” “Now, more than ever, we need to ensure young New Yorkers benefit from the trades,” Schmitt said. “This offers our youth a way to really have that perfect ‘American Dream’ life.”
Also in attendance were Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, representatives of Sens. David Carlucci, D-38th District, and James Skoufis, D- 39th District, and other local leaders who 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, visit https://cicbca.org/resources/.