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This program is helping Alabamians find jobs

Tamika Turner got excited when she discovered the Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ARP) offered by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) at Bishop State Community College.

“I was online one day and just looking, and they had an apprenticeship program, so I applied for it and they called me back,” Turner said. “More money, more skills – I couldn’t beat that.”

Apprenticeship Readiness Program helps people find jobs from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Turner ended up being one of eight students in this summer’s ARP at Bishop State, the first of its kind in the Mobile area. The eight-week program wrapped up Sept. 13 with a graduation ceremony.

“I’m happy,” Turner said. “I was the only girl, but I wasn’t worried about that. I know me and I know what I can accomplish. When you go in there with your mind made up, everything else will fall into place.”

The ARP introduced Turner and the other students to union crafts and the construction industry, preparing them for apprenticeships. David Felton, dean of Workforce Development at Bishop State, said the program teaches students about unions, the importance of safety and what they can expect when working in a union environment.

“They’ll have the opportunity to choose what union they might want to go in,” Felton said. “Whether it’s electrical, welding, ironworking or those types of things, it gives them an idea of what they might like to do.”

Founded in 1908, NABTU has the largest and most comprehensive registered apprenticeship programs and the largest apprenticeship readiness programs in the U.S. construction industry. More than 150 of these programs nationwide develop plumbers, electricians, ironworkers and other skilled professionals, supporting economic growth and providing contract workers for companies across the country.

“We established the Apprenticeship Readiness Programs to provide a gateway for more local residents and underserved communities to access the family-sustaining careers of our trades,” said NABTU President Sean McGarvey. “Our multicraft core curriculum presents the renowned uniform registered model of high-quality education, first-rate labor standards, and skills and safety training to more communities and people.”

McGarvey said the success of the students is proof of the programs’ value.

“Because of you, these programs keep proving to be successful,” McGarvey said to the graduating students. “You all are our success stories; you all are why we do what we do, and we applaud your hard work on this great accomplishment today. We are excited about you entering the Registered Apprenticeship system and look forward to you joining a lifelong, fulfilling and family-sustaining career in the building trades.”

Recruitment for ARP focuses on reaching historically underrepresented communities, including people of color, women and transitioning veterans. In recent years, these training programs have increased in the Southeast, especially within the Southern Company service territory.

“Skilled trades play an important role in our state’s economy,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services. “We’re proud to partner with North America’s Building Trades Unions to offer Apprenticeship Readiness Programs in local communities, providing Alabamians the educational resources and hands-on training needed for successful careers in the trades.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)