Building Union Diversity (BUD) program celebrates four years of success, providing opportunities for good-paying careers

By on December 18, 2018

From Labor Tribune:  More than 30 graduates of the Building Union Diversity (BUD) program, along with their friends, family, union officials, program organizers and supporters recently gathered at Carpenters Hall in St. Louis to celebrate four years of helping participants discover and land good paying jobs in the building construction trades.

Launched in 2014, in an effort to attract more minorities and women into the building construction trades, BUD has conducted 14 sessions (or cohorts), with 162 people starting the program, 142 (88 percent) completing the five- to eight-week sessions and 120 (85 percent) landing good-paying union represented jobs. The percentage of minorities enrolled in the program through October was 83 percent, with women representing 17 percent and veterans representing six percent.

A partnership between the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and the St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Carpenters, with funding from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, active recruitment and word-of-mouth have helped the program grow.

Several of the graduates at last week’s reception talked about how a friend had completed the program, landed a good-paying job and told them about it, and how they then completed the program and told someone else.

“I was a skeptic at first,” said Shaun Jones, a 2017 graduate who now works for J.M. Marschuetz Construction. “I didn’t want to go through another program that had a dead end. There were some steps to get in, but I came in knowing what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. It’s a great program and gave me an opportunity at not just a job, it’s a career. I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. I got what I wanted out of it. I got exactly what I was looking for, doing exactly what I wanted to do.”

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