District Council 9 announces launch of NYCHA apprenticeship program
By Gloria Pazmino
POLITICO New York
10/25/2016 01:30 PM EDT
City Councilman Ritchie Torres and leaders from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (DC9) announced Tuesday the New York City Housing Authority is launching its first civil service apprenticeship program, designed to help NYCHA residents learn building trades skills and secure union jobs.
Joseph Azzopardi, business manager and secretary for DC9, said the program will be available to at least 100 city residents with the goal of helping them reach a “pathway to the middle class.”
“The city’s first ever civil service apprenticeship program will focus on recruiting NYCHA residents as an innovative way to ensure folks have the opportunity to work in the neighborhoods where they come from,” Azzopardi said.
Several union workers and the program’s new apprentices gathered at City Hall park Tuesday morning to announce the program and show off their recently signed membership cards.
The apprenticeship program will provide participants with on the job and classroom training in the fields of painting, decorating, dry wall finishing, metal polishing and lead abatement work, among other trades represented by DC9. Upon completion of the program, participants receive “journeyman” status – meaning they have successfully completed training in a specialized skill along with wages to match.
The program will in part be funded by the City Council, which has earmarked $26 million in funding over the past three years to support the apprenticeship program, which is slated to be funded through 2018.
Torres, who chairs the Council’s committee on public housing, said DC9’s program will be able to tap into what he described as a “wealth of talent and potential” in public housing.
“Talent will only get you so far,” Torres said. “Talent requires investment, it requires opportunity. And the painters’ apprenticeship program is an investment that is giving public housing residents an opportunity not only for placement in a job but also a career path.”
According to union representatives, the program is made up of a majority of women, who make up 86 percent of the membership, as well as minorities, who make up 96 percent of the membership.