St. Louis "Building Union Diversity" Program Provides Model for C.H.O.I.C.E. Efforts
Published by Mark Coles
Similar to what we have proposed for the DC/Baltimore/NoVA region, the BUD program is an 8-week "apprenticeship readiness" course in which between 10 and 20 eligible participants will receive free training and reviews in a variety of building and construction trades.
Participants will be able to choose from a variety of training options based on their interests, and tradesmen will assess participants to place them in the training program for the job most suited to them. Those who successfully complete the training program are guaranteed at least one interview for a full time job at one of at least 8 participating trade unions.
When the first twelve participants began the program in October, they were promised the opportunity to interview for jobs if they attended every day of training.
According to BUD program administrator Jim Duane, union leaders are currently working to make good on that promise for the nine participants who completed the training.
The program was the result of almost a year of negotiating with city officials and local contractors. Funding for the program will come from federal dollars through the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the Department of Labor.
Today, over 60 such "apprenticeship readiness" programs like BUD are in operation in metropolitan areas across the United States. C.H.O.I.C.E. looks forward to expanding that effort.