Growing up in Southwest, Allen Hood had been thinking about a career in commercial painting for many years. Beginning last September 6, that dream has become much more of a reality. “Through the Rebuild program, I’ve had a chance to go through an intensive course of study with both classroom and hands on instruction,” the outgoing young man told the Globe Times in a phone interview. “It covered the technical side of painting, of course, but I also got some great guidance on job skills and professional development – the basics of employment which will help me if I join a large company.”
Hood was selected with 15 other young men and women from a large group of applicants to enter the paid Rebuild pre-apprenticeship training program. In parallel with the city’s Rebuild project to revitalize its parks, libraries and recreation, the individualized training will prepare the young people with the capabilities in the cement masonry, roofing, and finishing trades and qualify for apprenticeship in local trade unions.
Hood’s pilot cohort included 9 trainees in painting, 6 in roofing, and 1 cement masonry trainee, all preparing for apprenticeships in affiliated unions. Participants started at $13.25 an hour during their training. As apprentices, they will work on Rebuild sites or partner projects across the city.
The Rebuild program is another of the activities which is funded by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax initiated by Mayor Jim Kenney with solid, continuing support from the City Council. Some of the approved projects include such Southwest locations as Paschalville, Kingsessing and Nixon Libraries, Finnigan’s Playground, and the Kingsessing and Myers Recreation Centers.
“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation investment in our public spaces, and we must use it as an opportunity to expand and diversify membership in the building trades unions,” said Mayor Kenney. “I encourage people to apply for these programs and be part of the inclusive investments we are making to expand opportunities in every part of the city.”
“Jobs and supporting small diverse businesses are at the center of Council’s vision for Rebuild,” said City Council President Darrell Clarke. “Building sites in this city must reflect the demographics of our neighborhoods. We need to create more opportunities for communities of color to benefit from the growth and progress happening across Philadelphia. Rebuild will be a critical step toward increasing equitable growth across Philadelphia,” said City Council President Darrell Clarke.
“Ever since I was able to see the kind of painting work my uncle did, I have had that trade in mind for the future,” reflected Hood. “The help that I have gotten through Rebuild has given me some confidence. I hope I’ll receive an apprentice acceptance letter in June. Rebuild has given me the kind of peace of mind I’ve been looking for!”
For more information about opportunities in the Rebuild apprentice training program, visit its website at: – www.phila.gov/programs/rebuild/careers/
Information for this article was graciously provided by Maita Soukup of the Managing Director’s Office.