Today Rebuild Workforce Development Director Sharon Thompsonowak welcomed the second cohort of Rebuild trainees to a workforce program aimed at building careers in the skilled trades. The program will prepare 11 new participants for union apprenticeships in bricklaying, carpentry, cement masonry, and roofing. Rebuild’s workforce program matches qualified trades workers with opportunities on Rebuild sites.

Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax and a signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney, Rebuild is committing hundreds of millions of dollars to restore parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the city. Rebuild’s workforce development program is an essential way to cultivate a diverse talent pool in the skilled trades that will support this work over coming years.

Rebuild’s spring 2020 workforce program will facilitate a highly targeted match between union contractors and motivated, fully vetted candidates. Enrollees receive accelerated placement with union contractors and/or union apprenticeships; paid, part-time professional development; on-boarding 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.

The second cohort comprises 11 participants seeking careers in bricklaying, roofing, cement masonry,  and carpentry, and are all preparing for apprenticeships in affiliated unions. All of the participants are people of color and residents of Philadelphia. During the 3-month program, participants will receive approximately 65 hours of professional development training and an OSHA-10 certification. During training, they will receive a wage-based stipend corresponding to $15.00 an hour. Once trainees are matched with contractors, they will be prepared to work on Rebuild sites or partner projects across the city.

The first cohort of Rebuild trainees started the training program in September 2019. Today, nearly two-thirds of these individuals have either been hired as a union apprentice or are ready to match with a contractor as an apprentice when the construction season begins in earnest this spring.

“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation investment in our public spaces, and it is important that this investment brings more diversity to the building trades, and offers diverse and talented Philadelphia residents a family-sustaining wage,” said Mayor Kenney.

The program provides qualified minority and women candidates a new pathway into apprenticeships and ultimately full union membership in various trades. Rebuild offers both experienced and entry-level positions. Recruitment for the second cohort of trainees was completed in partnership with local job training providers, and ran over four weeks. As construction gets underway at more Rebuild sites, Rebuild will continue to support trainees in entering a wide variety of skilled trades.

“There are a dozen Rebuild projects entering construction this year, and that is an opportunity to offer diverse residents new pathways to careers in construction,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Rebuild’s success will be measured not only by the investments we make in community spaces, but by the projects that use a diverse workforce and provide long-term career opportunities for Philadelphians.”

Rebuild has work underway at 62 facilities across the City, two-thirds of which are in high needs neighborhoods.

Rebuild’s workforce development director and apprentices are available for interview.


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 a 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.