A group of Syracuse residents will be the first class in an urban and minority training program that promises to give them a pathway to a better job or out of unemployment.
Kamal McKinney is one of the members of the national Center for Construction Education initiative. He’s hoping his 10-week commitment can not only help himself to more-secure financial footing.
“Well I’ve always been interested in construction. I’ve been doing it a long time. I want to support my family. I want to show them how important it is to be a good citizen and part of the community and I want to start a business. I want to help people get employed and show the people that there’s a better way than just the wrong way.”
The participants get a certification that can be taken to other communities, letting employers know they have certain skills. Minority Contractors officials facilitating the training say there are 45 specialties in which they can learn. There’s also a national database that can link these workers with job openings. Mayor Stephanie Miner says the Joint Schools Construction Board pointed out the need to match skills with the jobs.
“An important part of that process was saying we’re going to be rebuilding schools and we want to make sure that the people on those sites doing the work are residents of our community so they can benefit as well. We started to see the real gap that there was in finding qualified craftspeople and tradespeople to do that work.”
Miner was joined by Andy Breuer of Huber-Breuer Construction, as well as union officials, who pledged to help make the final and important step of finding positions once the people finish the training.