Work in the union construction industry has long been one of New York City’s most reliable pathways to becoming part of, and staying in, the middle class. The pathways for entering into these careers, however, are difficult to navigate and highly competitive. As a result, too few people from low-income communities succeed in entering these fields and many who do succeed in securing such positions end up leaving for a variety of reasons. P2A works with individuals, unions, and community organizations educate and support them in this process.
Our work: P2A began its work as a formal organization in January 2016 with the Laborers Local 79 apprenticeship recruitment. P2A assisted 67 candidates, referred by local community organizations around New York City, who were from low-income communities and who did not have access to a computer. After 1 minute and 42 seconds, all 1000 interview spots were taken, and 32 of the 67 candidates assisted by P2A received interview spots. Of these 32 successful candidates, 24 candidates committed to attending the 8-week P2A pre-apprenticeship class. By July 2016, 15 of our class members had been accepted into and completed the Local 79 apprenticeship program and are now working.
In our program we teach candidates about the New York City construction industry, required work habits and basic workforce skills, financial literacy and money management, conflict resolution strategies, and more. In addition, we review the history and role of labor unions in the construction industry and the benefits and expectations of union membership. We have found that discussions about these issues help prospective workers be successful in the union building trades industry.