FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HOSTS GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR 2006 STRIVE CONSTRUCTION SKILLS PROGRAM GRADUATES
Mayor Provides Update on the Work of the Mayor's Commission on Construction Opportunity During Graduation Address
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a graduation ceremony in honor of the first graduating class of the STRIVE Construction Skills program, created by the City to prepare workers for jobs in the construction trades. The STRIVE program is based on a recommendation from the Mayor's Commission on Construction Opportunity to create a pipeline to unionized jobs in construction for people who lack the requisite job skills and/or a high school diploma. The program's 54 graduates - including 23 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA ) residents - will move on to a pre-apprenticeship program, Construction Skills 2000, in preparation for a full apprenticeship with a construction trades union. The Mayor's Commission on Construction Opportunity was formed in March 2005, and charged with exploring strategies and setting goals for ensuring that all New Yorkers, particularly minorities, women, returning veterans and recent high school graduates, are well-prepared and have the opportunity to gain access to new permanent jobs in construction. During his remarks, the Mayor provided a status update on many of the Commission's ten initiatives that were announced in October 2005. STRIVE Executive Director Lizzette Dunn-Barcelona, STRIVE graduate speaker Rayvon DeBerry along with his fellow STRIVE graduates and their families, and members of the Commission attended the ceremony at Gracie Mansion.
"New York City is at the dawn of an exciting period of economic growth and we are well positioned to take advantage of what we expect will be one of the biggest construction booms in our history," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Over the next 30 years, the City's major construction projects will generate many new jobs, and we want to ensure that these solid, permanent jobs go to New Yorkers, especially minorities, women, returning veterans, recent high-school graduates and those who have lacked stable employment. The STRIVE Program is a critical component in achieving these goals, and I salute this first graduating class and the work of the Commission."
Since the Commission was formed, it has forged consensus around a set of policy actions and has begun to implement a series of key recommendations. Central to the Commission's recommendations was an agreement with construction trade unions that 40% of apprentice slots created within a given year be dedicated toward its target audience beginning in 2006.
Today's ceremony is the result of a partnership between STRIVE, an internationally recognized workforce development agency focused on individual and community empowerment through employment, the City's Department of Education, and Construction Skills 2000 (CS2K), a pre-apprentice program administered by the Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Building Trades Employers Association. The graduates participating in today's event have completed the first two milestones - STRIVE work readiness and GEDs for those who did not already have a high school diploma - and have now "moved up" to the CS2K component of the program.
Previously, CS2K only focused on high school graduates. However, as a result of the Commission's work, CS2K has agreed to expand its mission to prepare other individuals for the construction trades, providing them with eight months of intensive job training and the opportunity to pursue a high school equivalency degree. Program participants receive a stipend to enable them to spend their full time in training. The program began at the end of January with STRIVE and DOE providing work readiness training and GED preparedness. Program participants completed STRIVE at the end of June and are now in the pre-apprentice training provided by CS2K, which is scheduled to end in August. With the successful completion of CS2K, graduates will be eligible to enter directly into apprentice programs this fall.
"I think all of us involved with this program understand that the best way to combat poverty and provide economic hope is through a job," said U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who has been actively working with the Mayor to increase opportunities in the construction industry. "These students have worked hard and now have the skills that will enable their talent to blossom. Not only will they better our construction industry, but their success will expand opportunities for future generations of New Yorkers."
"The Mayor's Commission on Construction Opportunity was formed to create real opportunities for minorities, women and veterans in the construction industry," said Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. "Working with the Commission, the STRIVE Program has now trained its first class of New Yorkers for promising careers in the booming construction industry. I congratulate STRIVE's first graduating class and look forward to congratulating many more in the future."
Since being established, the Commission has also had a number of other successes based on its recommendations:
The Construction Commission continues to meet to monitor the implementation of these initiatives and discuss and develop additional recommendations. The Construction Commission is co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff and Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott, and now has thirty-five members including private developers and contractors, minority and women-owned businesses, union representatives, advocates, and government officials. The Construction Commission has met six times to date, and its next meeting will be in October 2006.
Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
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