Graduates celebrate Pathways to Apprenticeship

Stephon Johnson | 12/13/2018, 12:02 p.m.
Two elected officials partnered with an organization to celebrate graduates of a per-apprenticeship program in the Bronx.
Pathways to Apprenticeship grautation Dana Jensen photo

Two elected officials partnered with an organization to celebrate graduates of a per-apprenticeship program in the Bronx.

New York City Council members Vanessa Gibson and Fernando Cabrera joined Pathways to Apprenticeship’s graduation ceremony for their constituents who successfully completing the pre-apprenticeship training program. The graduates are now ready to start their careers in New York City’s building trades unions.

“Today’s graduation is not just the culmination of hard work for these graduates, but a celebration of their achievements and perseverance to overcome the obstacles before them,” said Gibson.

Gibson continued, “In the Jerome Avenue rezoning, I was insistent that career-track construction jobs be included in the rezoning, with extra care given to helping those returning home or at an economic disadvantage, and this P2A class is a testament to what can happen when we invest in these individuals and communities that don’t need a hand out, but a hand up to new opportunities. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to GNY LECET, Pathways to Apprenticeship, in partnership with the Osborne Association for consistently advocating for this program and helping to bring this dream into reality.  Congratulations to the graduates, I know this is just the beginning of blessed and long careers.”

Pathways to Apprenticeship is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end intergenerational poverty via access to building trades apprenticeship programs. The goal is to lead young people from these backgrounds to long-term construction careers with good wages and benefits. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson made this class possible with a grant and his desire that workforce training and career-track construction jobs be included in the Jerome Avenue rezoning.

A couple of graduates talked about how special the day was for them.

“This opportunity has changed my life,” said Kliviland Sylvester, a Pathways to Apprenticeship graduate. “In these four weeks, I have felt a change within myself and a confidence grow that I didn’t have before. A confidence that comes from knowing I’m building a life for myself with a career in unionized construction that will let me meaningfully support myself and my family. It gives me peace of mind I haven’t had in a long time.”

“Pathways to Apprenticeship has given me an opportunity I never thought possible,” added graduate Angelica Rivera. “This was so much more than simply taking a class. This has equipped me with the skills to be not only a great construction worker, but fully self-sufficient and confident in my ability to take care of myself going forward.”

The job training and preparedness program helped equip graduates with OSHA 30, Scaffold Safety, and flagging certifications,. Graduates were also educated in work readiness, hard skills training, math skills and reading comprehension, labor history, budgeting and money skills, conflict resolution, identifying discrimination and harassment and New York City building industry information. Graduates also toured the building trades union’s training centers

“For years, we fought alongside Jerome Avenue residents and elected officials demanding the rezoning include workforce training and career track construction jobs,” stated Patrick Purcell, executive director of the Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust. “These 22 students and their success today and forthwith are a testament to our collective efforts, specifically the tireless work of Council members Gibson and Cabrera to make this rezoning a model for the city to build upon. I commend the graduates on their achievement and wish them safe, prosperous careers.”