PHILADELPHIA – Rebuild Executive Director Kira Strong today announced that Rebuild is currently recruiting candidates for paid, part-time training designed to connect participants with careers in the skilled trade unions. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax and a signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney’s, Rebuild is committing hundreds of millions of dollars to restore parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the city.
Rebuild’s spring 2020 workforce program will support diverse Philadelphians seeking entry to trade unions. The program will facilitate a highly targeted match between union contractors and motivated, fully vetted candidates. Candidates interested in becoming union bricklayers, roofers, or carpenters will be prioritized, but those interested in other trades are also welcome to apply.
Participants will receive accelerated placement with union contractors and/or union apprenticeships; paid, part-time professional development; onboarding resources including initial union dues payments and starter tools; and access to ongoing coaching and other supports. As they progress in their training, apprentices will work on Rebuild sites across the city. Prior construction experience is preferred, but not required.
The first cohort of Rebuild trainees started the training program in September 2019. Today, 50% of those enrolled in the program have been accepted into apprenticeships with trade unions.
Ullah Freeman, an apprentice with Local 30 roofers union, said, “Thanks to the soda tax and the programs it funds, I have been working as a skilled trades apprentice since September. As a father and a graduate of a number of training programs, union membership has been my goal since 2012. Through Rebuild, I was able to quickly gain the career skills and access I needed to be accepted into a union. I am able to build my career working on the very same neighborhood rec centers and libraries that my children frequently visit.”
Rebuild’s workforce program will expand as construction gets underway at more Rebuild sites across the city. The program is designed to offer both entry-level and experienced people of color and women a new pathway to pursue careers in the building trades.
“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, and be part of the inclusive investments we are making to expand opportunities in every part of the city.”
“Since breaking ground on the first Rebuild project last year, we have begun capital improvements at 62 parks, recreation centers, or libraries,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “The success of these investments will be measured not only by the rec center with a beautiful new gym, but by the gym built by a diverse workforce providing long-term career opportunities for Philadelphians.”
Rebuild has work underway at 62 facilities across the City, representing $126 million in committed funds to support improvements neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Two-thirds of Rebuild sites are in high needs neighborhoods and all projects address facilities with urgent facilities needs.
Interviews are available with current Rebuild apprentices and program leaders.
Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion. Rebuild is a public-private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.