Mayor Walsh announces $3m federal grant to support construction and hospitality careers
Oct 02, 2015
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a $3 million grant from the Obama Administration to expand apprenticeship opportunities in construction and hospitality through the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development. The City's award, part of the $175 million American Apprenticeship Grant program, will serve 394 participants seeking to advance careers in the construction and hospitality sectors.
"I want to thank President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez along with our Congressional delegation, Senators Warren and Markey and Representatives Lynch and Capuano, for securing this valuable funding for Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "This grant allows us to equip residents with the knowledge and skills needed to gain employment in some of our fastest growing sectors. We want to provide a pipeline to better-paying jobs with benefits. We know the demand exists, and we're here to provide the connections."
The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development led the grant application process with lead partner organizations Building Pathways, YouthBuild Boston, and BEST Corp. In his former role as General Agent for the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, Mayor Walsh played a pivotal role in starting the Building Pathways program.
Building Pathways is a pre-apprenticeship program that provides women and people of color a direct path into a career in the building trades. Over 200 people have participated in the program since it was established in 2011. The public-private collaboration will focus largely on outreach to underrepresented individuals with the goal of strengthening this population's access to apprenticeships.
"Investments in education and training like the Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative are a key part of how we grow our economy and help our families build a future," Senator Warren said. "Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston are leading the way in making sure hardworking people, especially women and people of color, can get the skills they need to get well-paid jobs with good benefits. I'm very happy the federal government is recognizing their efforts with this major grant. "
"These federal funds will help the City of Boston expand employment opportunities for residents by offering enhanced training and education in the fields of construction and hospitality," said United States Representative Mike Capuano. "The Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative will open new career paths for participants, giving them the tools they need to succeed. I appreciate Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston's commitment to establishing innovative employment training programs."
"As graduates of the Laborers' and Ironworkers' Union Apprenticeship programs, Mayor Walsh and I are true believers in the advantages that skilled training can provide," said Congressman Lynch. "For our local businesses to continue to grow, we will need to produce skilled workers to meet their needs. I appreciate Mayor Walsh's leadership on this effort. This will provide great opportunities for 400 Boston residents to create a better life for themselves and their families."
The Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative (GBAAI) will offer an accelerated path to skilled jobs with several benefits. Participants in the initiative will have access to training opportunities and college credential programs that could increase their earnings from the state's minimum wage of $9 per hour to initial union wages of about $16 per hour or journeyman wages of $21 per hour and higher, depending on occupation and educational attainment. The lead partners hope to increase the number of people of color and women, groups who have traditionally been underrepresented, in skilled labor positions.
"The Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative creates opportunities and pathways to success for women and communities of color working to achieve their American Dream," said Senator Edward J. Markey. "As demand in the construction and hospitality industries grow, providing pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and education that can lead to union careers in these fields will result in a better trained, better equipped workforce. I applaud Mayor Walsh and the Office of Workforce Development for their leadership and commitment to securing this funding that will help underrepresented groups fully maximize their abilities."
Wentworth Institute of Technology and Bunker Hill Community College will serve as higher education partners in the GBAAI. Both institutions will provide supportive programming opportunities.
The following Associate Programs are offered through Wentworth Institute of Technology to union apprentices:
Carpenters - Construction Management
Electrical - Electrical Engineering Technology
Sheet Metal - Mechanical Engineering Technology
Pipe Fitters & Iron Workers - Architectural Technology
The GBAAI serves as an earn and learn model that will allow participants to earn good wages while working towards college credits. By linking apprenticeships with educational opportunities, the program provides another alternative to traditional college career pathways. In addition, the partnership will create a scholarship fund that will help participants pay for these degrees to help reduce their student debt.
"We are delighted to participate in this grant," said Wentworth Institute of Technology President Dr. Zorica Pantić. "With our focus on experiential learning, Wentworth will provide to the participants of this apprenticeship program a path to career success and also build a skilled workforce pipeline necessary for the future economic growth of the region."
The Massachusetts Executive Office of labor and Workforce Development and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that the construction trades will experience a 30 percent growth in jobs in greater Boston between 2012 and 2022. Over the same time period, jobs in the hospitality sector are expected to grow by 20 percent.
The Associated General Contractors, Building Trades Employer's Association, and Starwood Corporation will serve as regional employer groups. Other partners in the initiative include the Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee, Boston Housing Authority, ABCD, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, Boston Private Industry Council, and Boston's one-stop career centers.