As a young man, Allen Hood learned all about the painting trade from his uncle, a veteran tradesman and mentor to Allen. So when his uncle told him the City was recruiting residents for a new training program to work toward union membership, Allen jumped at the opportunity. 

Flash forward to a few months later, and Allen is one of 15 Rebuild trainees who met Mayor Kenney, City officials, and trade union representatives at City Hall to celebrate the recruits’ progress toward apprenticeships in the roofing, cement masonry and plastering, and finished trades unions. 

Selected from a pool of over 950 applicants, these 15 recruits were admitted to the first cohort of Rebuild’s paid training program. A quarter of the cohort are women, and all are people of color.

Thanks to support from City Council and a historic investment from the William Penn Foundation, Rebuild’s workforce program is creating a diverse pipeline of union tradespeople to work on projects to improve neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. The PHL Pipeline and PRA Talent Development programs give Philadelphia residents, especially women and people of color, a new pathway into membership in a construction union. 

Having successfully completed the induction phase of the paid training program, Allen and his colleagues are now moving on to further training, or starting union apprenticeships in their chosen trade.

“Rebuild gave me a chance to work toward a career that is going to benefit me and my family for the long term,” said Allen. “I am embracing this opportunity, and all I have learned so far, to really master my painting skills and build my career in the union.”

Sign up to receive email updates and opportunities from #RebuildPHL.