New York, NY – On July 29, 17 transit workers were awarded certificates attesting to their completion of three-year apprenticeships in skilled trade titles within New York City Transit. The certificates were awarded by TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano, Training and Upgrading Fund Director Charles Jenkins, in conjunction with MTA/New York City Transit.
These new skilled trades workers, drawn from the ranks of Cleaners and Traffic Checkers back in 2016, first took a six-month program to learn their trades at the Apex Technical School in Long Island City, Queens, and then embarked on their three-year apprenticeships as Carpenters, Masons, and Plumbers within Transit’s Maintenance of Way Department. The TWU Local 100 Apprenticeship Program is now in its fourth year, with three classes on their way to success as skilled tradesmen and women.
Three of the graduates who spoke at the ceremony talked about their Transit journeys.
Ismail Abdullah said, “In the three years that I’ve been in the program, I’ve learned a lot about masonry. I love working in the field. I’ve worked out of West 4thstreet, 207th Street, 180th Street yard, 148th Street. I’m 42. I have 3 kids, two 15 y/o twins, and a 21 y/o daughter who goes to Millersville University in Pennsylvania. I always tell my kids; don’t give up and just keep going at whatever you have to do. I was a Car Equipment Cleaner for 2 years.”
Theresa Harris said, “I’m so proud to be a part of this operation. I’m so happy that I was a part of this apprenticeship class. I never imagined that I would even be a part of the MTA, but here I am. I was a traffic checker for 2 years, then a Cleaner. I have a son and daughter. I live in Flatbush. I am a mason. It’s a non-female oriented job. It’s shown me that anything, if you put your mind to it, you can actually do. I met so many wonderful maintainers who have such great skills. Like Tony Utano, I love people. I know so many men who are supporting families. I’m so proud to work with them and to have their backs, while I’m learning at the same time. It was tough. But I really enjoy it. My Son is 22 and my daughter is 24. My son just passed the Police Officer test, and he’s waiting to be called as a Police Officer. My daughter is a teacher at a charter school.”
Veronica Parker said, “I was a Cleaner in the Car Equipment Department since 1991, and I came into the apprenticeship program in 2016. My title is Mason. It’s a lot of work but it is really do-able, to me, because now, I know measurements, and how long it takes for concrete to dry. I know how to build blocks, how to lay tile, how to do moldings, make a back splash. I’ve always been strong, but I take my time. I know the proper ways to adjust myself so I don’t hurt myself. I work out of West 4th Street from 7 to 3. I am a grandmother, and I have 3 strong male sons, 15 y/o 18y/o and a 20 y/o. If you would like to move on from the position you are in, this is the best. I waited a long time, and I made in.”