by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, August 2011) In an effort to get younger people involved in the construction trades, the Union Construction Industry Partnership – Apprenticeship Skills Achievement Program (UCIP-ASAP) partnered with Employment Connections and Turner Construction along with its subcontractors on the Medical Mart project, to offer five Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) graduates the opportunity to become union apprentices. The CMSD recent graduates will attend an eight week pre-apprenticeship program. Graduates of the eight-week UCIP-ASAP will be given the opportunity to choose an apprenticeship in a whole range of construction industry unions that are part of the partnership.
Bob Verhoff, Interim Executive Director of UCIP-ASAP says five individuals who have graduated from Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high schools in the past five years were selected to participate in the pre-apprenticeship program, which began on July 25 and will run until September 9th. Turner Construction and its subcontractors on the Medical Mart project, along with Employment Connections, are supporting the project. They are providing funds to help those participating in the program with tuition, stipends, daily expenses, safety gear, and funds to cover application costs.
The UCIP-ASAP July class originally was to target five graduates from this year’s Max Hayes High School Construction Program. UCIP-ASAP had applied for Federal Workforce Investment Act funds to help pay for tuition and other costs for the new graduates. However, while they were waiting to hear from the federal government about funding, the Max Hayes students all accepted jobs at Alcoa.
Verhoff says UCIP-ASAP did not receive the federal grant, yet were able to find sponsors to go forward with the CMSD recent grads. Verhoff hopes that participants in the program will join an apprenticeship in a trade about which they are passionate. He says, upon graduation from UCIP-ASAP. it is hoped that those graduates of the program that join apprenticeships, that match the needs of the Medical Mart project, will work on that project. Each union apprenticeship requires both classroom hours and a certain number work hours to earn journeyman status.