Eastern Millwork Teams up With EducatorsMarch 22nd, 2019 by Drew Vass, Executive Editor
As an effort to help address labor shortages, Hudson Community College recently partnered with Eastern Millwork Inc., in Jersey City, N.J., to establish a joint apprenticeship program. Integrated into an Associate of Applied Science degree in advanced manufacturing, the program is an expansion of the college’s workforce development efforts, allowing Eastern Millwork to train up to four qualified high school students per year.
In a press conference held by the Skilled Labor Fund amid the recent Design and Construction Week in Las Vegas, David Pekel, CEO of the National Association of the Remolding Industry, mentioned such programs, calling them out for their ability to expose high-school-aged students to job options. In turn, they also help to address the need for fresh talent throughout the construction and construction-related industries, Pekel explained.
“The current labor force is aging, and it’s the right time to change the narrative at the high school level,” said Pekel. “We’d like to work with the school systems, so that kids understand what their options are—be it the four-year college track, or trade school.”
The latter, Pekel explained, generally allows graduates to hit the ground running—with a job in tow—after finishing their respective programs.
Through a partnership with Eastern Millwork, the model deployed by Hudson Community College devotes three days per week to practical work experiences and one to industry-specific studies and training. Students’ fifth day each week is spent at the community college, where they’re engaged in coursework for related degrees.
To support training and job placement through fundraising efforts, Skilled Labor Fund and select operating committee members spoke to the press about root causes, current and ongoing challenges, and the fund’s main priorities.
“Our primary goals are to greatly expand the current number of high schools offering training in the trades and to financially support career fairs that bring together prospective works with trade industry professionals,” said Mark Pursell, CEO of the National Housing Endowment, which serves as fund administrator.
In 2016, Skilled Labor Fund implemented the Home Builders Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) program, offering classroom and hands-on training through construction trades.
“We have funded 15 schools to date through the Home Building Institute’s two-year post-high school program, and they are all at full capacity. We would like to add up to 40 more schools across the nation by 2020,” said Pursell.