In an adjacent room filled with sandbags, tools and supplies for rebar and drywall, Ian Chase, Building Futures training director, prepared to welcome a new wave of students. Chase said the program’s five-week training course balances skills training and strength training. Sometimes Chase students turn over tractor-sized tires, wield hammers, and engage in timed measuring drills, which will condition them for the physically demanding job ahead. Other times, they work on longer-term projects that mirror the work they’ll be doing on actual construction sites: building a rebar mat for a bridge or building, insulating, wiring, and painting walls. desks.
It was in this room that Andrew Ortiz, a recent graduate of Building Futures, discovered his favorite specialty: recording.
“I didn’t even know people could get jobs as sparklers,” Ortiz admitted. But after five weeks of working in several specialties, he discovered that he mostly enjoyed preparing unfinished drywall for painting, covering the edges of walls with masking tape and later putting the finishing touches on a job. paint.
Before Building Futures, Ortiz laid the foundation for a concrete house for a private contractor and faced the same job security issues as Domenech. Joining the Building Futures training program, he realized, would allow him to learn a variety of trades at no cost to him, which would eventually bring him better job security, higher wages and good benefits. social.
“I was looking for a career path,” he said. “I joined this program because it will help me get a union job in a respected industry. »
Ortiz now works as an apprentice at PAC; in less than a year, he will become a journeyman and join his local painters’ union.
Chase said the program’s impact can extend far beyond the new skills acquired during an apprenticeship, as participants create careers that make a meaningful difference in their lives outside of work.
“A lot of people who come here looking for a shot might not even have much interest in building, might not even have played with Legos as kids – but they struggle to make ends meet, or they’re looking to do more with their lives,” Chase said. “What we’re able to get across to them here can be really transformative. We have graduates who are now leading their own projects, immersing themselves in local politics, buying their first home or even a second home. I don’t think we really anticipated any of this.