Thirty five residents who participated in the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Modified Apprenticeship Training Program (ATP) today celebrated their graduation, and more importantly, new job opportunities.
“I started the Apprenticeship Training Program in 2018 as one approach to connect our customers to opportunity and strengthen their ability to compete in the open job market in the trades and labor industries. The program has now provided job training for nearly 100 District residents and allowed them the chance to create a path toward sustained gainful employment and self-sufficiency,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett.
The apprentices, the majority of whom are DCHA customers, received training for light maintenance, landscaping, painting, carpentry, electrical, and other projects that will improve the curb appeal of DCHA communities. After graduation, trainees will continue receiving any necessary support from the DCHA Office of Resident Services and Workforce Development.
“We are proud to support and expand on the great efforts DCHA is making to train the next generation of workers. After the successful completion of their program, our union is committed to continuing that success by affording them the opportunity to expand their training through a registered apprentice program at our state-of-the-art training center. In turn giving them necessary skills to succeed on the job and achieve good wages with benefits and the opportunity to work and retire with dignity,” said Anthony Abrantes, political and organizing director of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “This partnership is the first step of many necessary to create the economic opportunity for the working class residents of the District of Columbia and we are happy to be part of that solution.”
This ATP cohort receives a base rate of $15 per hour and began working in August 2020 to complement the authority’s maintenance staff. Fridays served as a professional development day for trainees where they learned leadership skills, resume writing, business communication, and more. In addition to maintenance and landscaping instruction, they assisted in the renovations at DCHA headquarters to create socially distanced work spaces and the new security command center.
Now, at the end of this year’s program, the apprentices compete for positions within DCHA and with private sector employers. Companies hiring this year’s trainees are DCHA, JTL Inc. Trucking, and the D.C. Department of General Services. A number of apprentices elected to pursue formal apprenticeship training with the carpenters union that will lead to permanent employment.
“It was a pleasure working with DCHA staff and I appreciate their persistence in helping us to find qualified candidates for our growing small business. The seven candidates that were sent all interviewed well and made the final decision very difficult,” said Shaina Taylor, vice president of JLT Inc. Trucking. “We have decided to offer employment to two individuals and we look forward to them joining the JLT Trucking team.”
Garrett said, “Even during the public health emergency, DCHA continues leveraging resources to develop new partnerships that yield results to support our commitment to improving the quality of life of our residents. The economic crisis resulting from the pandemic is impacting our residents disproportionately. More than ever, DCHA is investing in programs like ATP to support our public housing residents, the community, and the local economy.”