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First Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative in the Lehigh Valley class completed, event held


September 2009 Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

First Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative in the Lehigh Valley class completed, event held


REGION, August 24th- On August 20th the youths that were enrolled in the newly created Lehigh Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative during the summer received their certification for completing the course. The event was held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 375 building on Liberty Street in Allentown.

In May, unions affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley announced the creation of the initiative at the Career Link on Union Boulevard in Allentown. The labor federation together with United Community Services sponsored the program.

The program was funded by the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board with the initiative headquarters and classrooms located at Local 375 building. Funds for the project were provided through Pennsylvania’s allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

According to William Newhard, President of the labor federation, eligible youths from the Lehigh Valley that were enrolled in the program were given both acadenic preparation and work experiences to enter the building trades apprenticeship programs.

Journeymen construction workers assisted the youths in getting to know all about construction and construction unions. Additionally, the youths studied math, construction safety, and building trades work readiness. The pre-apprenticeship program mirrors a real apprenticeship program by providing an opportunity to earn and learn. Pre-apprenticeship requirements are the same as real apprenticeship requirements.

William Dorward, Area Marketing Representative of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Union Local 19, which represents employees which installs duct work for heating and air conditioning and metal roofs within the construction industry, told the newspaper a pre-apprenticeship program in the Reading area is very successful. Mr. Dorward said the Reading program was established more than five years ago.

Vicki Henshaw, who has worked in the Lehigh Valley within youth social services for many years directed the summer program. She told the newspaper plans are already underway to continue the program in 2010.

Mark Snyder, Business Representative of the United Association of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Union Local 690, attended the August 20th event and stated his union was pleased to be involved in the program. Local 690 represents plumbers working within the building and construction industry throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Mrs. Henshaw stated there were fourteen youths that completed the course including: Joshua Hernandez, Kara Holloman, Xavier Isley, Jessica Lantigua, Melido Matos, Ashley Neas, Tyreek Owens, Kamil Payano-Sosa, Kyree Riddick, Sandy Sanchez, Cecilia Torres, Crystal Torres and Bryan Valek.

The youths, their families, program supporters, and invited quests participated in the event which included food, soda and special presentations

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