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St. Louis Mayor, Building Trades Celebrate Latest Class of BUD Program Minority Pre-Apprentices

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay praised the Building Trades' efforts last week

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay praised the Building Trades’ efforts last week

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In St. Louis, the latest class of the Building Union Diversity (BUD) pre-apprenticeship program has graduated prompting local politicians and civic leaders to celebrate.  The BUD program is a first-of-its- kind pre-apprenticeship program targeting minority skills development. It has been recognized by the White House and labeled a “best pratice.” 

On hand for the ceremony were NAACP President Aldophus Pruitt, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council President Jeff Aboussie, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Louis Agency of Training and Employment (SLATE) Executive Director Michael Holmes.  Mayor Slay praised both the program and its graduates:

“We are putting nearly 2,000 young adults to work through our Stl Youth Jobs program; we are connecting 3,000 people to permanent jobs through our Bridge Program, which is aimed at reducing gaps in poverty rates and unemployment; and, we have partnered with community-based non-profits, like Better Family Life to identify and engage with at-risk youth,” Mayor Slay said. “But increasing job opportunities at the margins is not enough. We need workers – lots of workers – who have the skills and education they need to do good work for their employer. The BUD program is helping to increase our pool of well-trained and motivated union apprentices.”

Aboussie described the growth potential of the program:

“We’re proving that this program works.  Eight of our last nine graduates are employed fulltime. And, with the construction work season now in full swing, I fully anticipate that our new graduates will have an even greater opportunity to secure gainful employment to help themselves and their families.”

Participants must complete a rigorous seven-week training program to acquire the skills needed for union apprenticeship.  Upon graduation, each participant is guaranteed an interview with one of seven participating companies for a full-time union job.  

At the June 1st event officials also unveiled a new website which the city hopes will help connect workers with job openings in the construction field.  The site was built in partnership with SLATE, the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, the NAACP, and Kiosite, LLC.  The site will “serve as a database where people interested in construction jobs in the metropolitan area can register, gain construction information on projects, learn about and get connected to training opportunities, and get linked to individuals and businesses looking to hire qualified and experienced candidates.”


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