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Philly Building Trades Expand Apprenticeship Access

July 11, 2017  
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Philadelphia, PA - Working with the city’s building-trades unions, the city government, developers, and institutions have launched three pre-apprenticeship programs intended to increase the number of women and minorities in the city’s construction industry.

“I encourage other private developers and institutions to follow their example and adopt this model as well,” Mayor Jim Kenney said June 27. The Brandywine Trust is offering a 15-week course to prepare candidates for union apprenticeship tests; those who pass the will be offered jobs on the developer’s Schuylkill Yards project. Penn Medicine has developed PennAssist, in which vocational-track high-school graduates will be paid a stipend to attend a boot camp and then are guaranteed a year’s worth of work for $16.50 an hour. The city’s Rebuild program, which will spend $500 million to refurbish city parks, recreation sites, and libraries, has a similar system called PHL Pipeline. Philadelphia Building Trades Council business manager John J. Dougherty said in a statement that the unions had discussed the issue with Mayor Kenney during his first week in office, and had “ended up with a plan that is very similar to the apprentice training template the trades recently adopted. All of us look forward to its successful implementation.” Read more

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