Wyckoff Houses resident Alex Rodriguez wants to become an electrician and join a union. NYCHA’s Pathways to Apprenticeship helped him create a road map to reach that goal.
On November 6, Mr. Rodriguez and 22 fellow NYCHA residents graduated from the first class of Pathways to Apprenticeship. The program, for NYCHA residents affected by Superstorm Sandy, provides classroom and hands-on construction training. After graduation, they are connected to apprenticeships in the building and construction trade unions working on NYCHA’s Sandy recovery contracts. Residents from other NYCHA developments are allowed to participate in the apprentice program, space permitting.
“Five years after Superstorm Sandy, we are committed to building back stronger and providing new opportunities for our residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “Today’s graduates will join trade unions working to rebuild their own communities, and should take pride knowing they are helping get the city back on its feet through their hard work and dedication to their futures, their families, and our community.”
NYCHA’s Office of Recovery and Resilience (NYCHA R+R) manages Sandy recovery and resilience work at 33 developments. Through this work, over 550 new jobs have been created and 370 have been filled by low-income New Yorkers, including 221 NYCHA residents. NYCHA residents are given top priority when new hires are considered on any NYCHA project.
Participants in the four-week Pathways to Apprenticeship program received a $250 stipend after completing each week of training, a MetroCard, helmet, work boots, and assorted equipment and will also receive OSHA 10 and Scaffold Security certification.
Mr. Rodriguez, who would like to become a member of electrical union Local 3 IBEW, said he would definitely recommend the program: “It’s necessary to know what it is you want to do and how you’re going to get there, and this program helps you do that. Pathways to Apprenticeship is creating a new funneling system, a system that helps benefit our communities, our families, ourselves, and not the prison industrial complex. Funneling people into jobs, into a trade, and not prisons.”
Pathways to Apprenticeship is one of the three apprenticeship programs offered by NYCHA’s Sandy Recovery Pre-Apprenticeship Program, led by NYCHA R + R, which plans to train 100 residents a year. NYCHA R + R received $1.4 million from HUD to ensure that Sandy-impacted residents not currently qualified to do the work have a clear pathway to gaining employment over the next several years.