What We Do:
P2A assists people from low-income communities to access union construction apprenticeships, which are pathways to safe, secure, middle class careers. By low-income communities, we mean people who live in public housing or receive public assistance, the under-employed, youth just released from the foster care system, people with criminal records and others, most of whom are African-American, Hispanic, and of other minority cultures.
P2A serves as a link between community organizations that assist these communities and the building trades industry.
P2A seeks to help the building trade unions become richer, more diverse institutions by ensuring that career opportunities are available to people from low-income communities. P2A not only assists candidates to access these career opportunities, but also to develop their voices and leadership potential so that they can become peer mentors and leaders in the building trades and in their communities.
Mission and History
Pathways to Apprenticeship, Inc. (“P2A”) recruits, trains, and mentors people from low-income communities – including, the formerly incarcerated, people on public assistance, and people living in public housing – to be accepted into and succeed in construction union apprenticeship programs in New York City. Careers in the building trades lead to solid middle-class incomes, ending the intergenerational poverty that holds low-income New York families hostage.
Since its founding by a small group of volunteers in 2013, P2A has assisted 235 people from low-income communities (66% of whom were formerly incarcerated) to be admitted into a building trades apprenticeship program. More than 85% of these graduates are still working in the building trades and many of them have become P2A Peer Mentors, teaching classes and conducting information sessions.
Here is how P2A works:
Information Sessions: P2A conducts sessions on building trades opportunities for the general public and clients of community organizations and public agencies throughout the City. In these sessions, P2A Peer Mentors – people who went through the P2A program and are now successfully working in the industry, – explain building trades careers, recruitment processes, and the apprenticeship experience, and review safety protocols on construction worksites.
Application Process Mentoring: P2A assists people with their applications by reviewing resumes, conducting interview preparation sessions, and hosting pre-apprenticeship and application test preparatory classes for apprenticeship applicants. For example, in connection with the annual Laborer, Local 79 recruitment, P2A makes 80 computers available in two locations – in Manhattan and the Bronx – for people to try to obtain an application. Then, P2A holds an 8-week pre-apprenticeship class to prepare people who obtain applications to Local 79 for their interviews and for the apprenticeship experience in general. Some unions require applicants to take an aptitude test (in math and reading comprehension) in connection with an application, and P2A conducts refresher classes with practice tests for applicants to prepare for these exams. Since the Spring of 2013 when P2A began, we have helped 155 people get into building trades apprenticeships through general recruitment processes.
Direct Entry Pre-Apprenticeship Training and Placement Class: P2A conducts a four-week (140 hour) classes, certified by the NYS Department of Labor, the graduates of which may be accepted directly into building trades apprenticeships apart from general recruitment. This class consists of work readiness training, building trades hard skills training, math skills such as fractions, algebra, and measurement, reading comprehension, NYC building industry information, labor history and civil rights, budgeting and money skills, power and conflict resolution, worker rights under law, discrimination and harassment, and OSHA 30, scaffold safety and flagging certifications. Participants also tour building trades training centers and receive a tool bag with many of the tools that they will need to have to begin work.
Obstacle Loans: There are often upfront costs to starting work and many participants need assistance in covering those costs. P2A offers no-interest loans for expenses such as union initiation fees, steel toed boots and specialized tools that unions require apprentices to purchase before they can work.
Outreach and Partnerships: P2A works with community organizations like Strive, St Nicks Alliance, Fortune Society, Osborne Association, West Harlem Development Corp, NeON (Neighborhood Opportunity Network of NYC, Red Hook Initiative, Fifth Avenue Committee, Jobs Plus, and more, to recruit participants. P2A also assists the unions diversify their workforces. P2A sends out a monthly email update on classes, events, and current apprenticeship openings to individuals who have attended information sessions and representatives of community organizations and public agencies (P2A has an email list of 1,400 people.)
P2A has conducted 8 Direct Entry classes since 2017. Four of these classes were for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to train and place residents of NYCHA housing. The others were for various community organizations and the City of Yonkers:
Four classes for NYCHA:
Red Hook Brooklyn (10/2017 – 23 participants);
Gowanus Brooklyn (1/2018 – 21 participants)
Lower East Side Manhattan (4/2018 – 19 participants),
Far Rockaways (7/2018 – 22 participants).
Port Chester (11/2017 – 10 participants) (Don Bosco Worker Center and Westchester Building Trades)
West Harlem (3/2018 – 20 participants) (West Harlem Development Center)
Washington Heights (5/2018 – 22 participants) (State Senator Marisol Alcantara and CUNY in the Heights)
Yonkers (8/2018 – 20 participants) (Yonkers Industrial Development Agency)
To date, P2A has graduated 157 people from its direct entry programs. Of the 115 people who graduated from the first 6 classes (ending by June 2018), we have placed 70. Deducting the 27 people who dropped out of the program (for reasons such as injury, moved out of state, decided that they did not want a building trades career), our placement rate is currently 80%. Of the 42 participants in the Rockaways and Yonkers classes (finished in August 2018), we have already placed 12 (16%).