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Dear Friends and Supporters,

For three decades, the Consortium for Worker Education has dedicated itself to the development of New York's workforce. Through partnerships with unions and community organizations, CWE provides education, training, and job placement for tens of thousands of workers every year. Please read on for the latest news from the Consortium for Worker Education.

 

 

Our Chairman on Labor and CWE

 

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George Miranda is Chairman of the Board of the Consortium for Worker Education and President of Teamsters Joint Council 16.

 

In many ways, George Miranda exemplifies the relationship between the Consortium for Worker Education and the labor movement.

“As New York’s premiere institution for educating workers, unions depend on CWE to help our members get the training and certifications they need to advance in their industries,” says Miranda, who serves as both Chairman of the CWE Board and President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “But through CWE, unions are also able to fulfill our mission of helping all New Yorkers get the training and good jobs they need to succeed in this economy.”

It is fitting that Miranda became the chairman of the board in 2014. CWE grew out of initiatives at the Teamsters 30 years ago, where union leaders believed that no institution was better suited to help workers get trained and get a promotion than their own union.

Miranda has seen the CWE benefit his own members. For decades, Teamsters have been going to CWE for free Commercial Driver’s License training, which can cost members thousands of dollars to purchase on their own. “Through CWE, our members are able to go from the storeroom to the cab of a 53 footer. It gives workers the power to improve and transform their lives.”

But as the CWE has expanded its footprint, it has become a resource for all working New Yorkers. Through two programs funded by the City Council, Jobs to Build On and Worker Service Centers, CWE is providing thousands of unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers each year with job training and job placement services. Miranda looks forward to seeing those efforts expand in additional neighborhoods through community-based organizations in the Bronx and CWE’s recent partnership with library branches to provide job services in their community spaces.

“The labor movement started CWE to serve workers, all workers,” says Miranda. “We are committed to growing this institution and fulfilling that mission.”

 

 

JtBO Partner Profile: BuildingWorks

 

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The BuildingWorks Winter 2016 graduating class. BuildingWorks receives funding through Jobs to Build On.

 

When the New York City District Council of Carpenters launched BuildingWorks, the aim of the pre-apprenticeship program was to ensure that building trades jobs were accessible to all communities and to bring more people of color into the union. Twenty years later, the program has proven adept at not just making the union more diverse – it has prepared apprentices for successful careers in the Carpenters union.
 
“We measure our success not by how many people we train or how many people start working. We want to see people finishing a four-year apprenticeship,” says Joan Staunton, the Pre-Apprenticeship Program Director at the New York City District Council of Carpenters Labor Technical College.

In order to hold itself to that high standard, BuildingWorks holds its students to high standards as well. Only about 25 students make the cut for each class, out of 300 applicants. Classes begin early in the morning to prepare students for work in the construction industry and a high attendance record is required for graduation.

More than anything, BuildingWorks is looking for students who truly want to be union carpenters, because they are most likely to stick with the career and excel. As a preparatory program, BuildingWorks helps the Carpenters Apprenticeship maintain its impressive 80.6% retention rate.

The twelve-week program gives students the soft skills they will need to succeed when they enter an apprenticeship at the Carpenters or another building trades union. Students learn basics they will use on the job, including math, time management, and problem solving. As safety is the basis for all union construction, students receive a rigorous curriculum in health and safety, including OSHA regulations, scaffold safety, hazardous materials, and ergonomics. And to ensure that students have the clear minds and healthy bodies they need to succeed, the program also covers fitness, nutrition, and financial literacy.

At the end of the program, graduating students are recommended for apprenticeships, and it could not be a better time to become a carpenter, says Staunton. There is a lot of work right now and the wait can be as short as a month to start on the job.

Apprenticeships last four years and include both classroom and on-the-job training. Wages start at $20.20 an hour and go up with each year of the apprenticeship. Graduates of the apprenticeship program become journey level in the District Council of Carpenters.

Pre-apprenticeship programs like BuildingWorks show that making our workplaces more diverse and more effective are one and the same goal.

 

 

BuildingWorks Success Stories

 

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/82fb10670951754d6fa04e33e/images/7bef5b23-a3e2-4e6d-a9af-1a10aef815ef.jpgTihuan Simpson knew that $8.50 an hour and unsteady work was not the future he wanted. He wanted to be a union Carpenter and get better wages, benefits, and training. Tihuan joined BuildingWorks in 2014 and started working as an apprentice Carpenter in December of that year. He is currently a 2nd year apprentice and earns $25.25 an hour plus benefits and overtime. Looking back on the training he says, “I learned how important and valuable team work is and to stay calm and focused while working. The more focused I am on the job, the better my work is. When I first started, I wasn’t just looking for work, I was hoping to always be learning and improving my skills. This program was life changing for me. I look forward to a 35 year commitment in this career and I will give it 100%.”

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/82fb10670951754d6fa04e33e/images/4f437d50-b658-4ed7-8055-ca38e3c35e11.jpgBefore BuildingWorks, Maurice George had been unemployed for more than a year. He applied to BuildingWorks several times and his determination finally paid off – he was accepted and completed the training in June of 2015. He has been working for Woodworks Construction Company since starting the apprenticeship and says, “BuildingWorks was a big lift for me. The training helped me become comfortable financially and allowed me to get first hand training from experienced carpenters.”

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/82fb10670951754d6fa04e33e/images/2674663a-c7be-4ae7-a5b2-e1568f431f72.jpgMichael Carfagna was referred to BuildingWorks by Make the Road New York. He graduated in March 2016 and immediately started the Carpenters Apprenticeship as a Dock Builder. Michael says, “When my wife and I had our first child I was forced to sit down and reflect. Throughout life I had always encountered union construction workers that loved what they stood for. They always seemed to be able to provide for their families. The work is challenging, but the hands on education is priceless. BuildingWorks was, hands down, one of the best experiences I ever had.”

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