Building Trades launch second BUD program following 75% placement from first effort

THE FIRST CLASS: The first group of nine participants graduated from the Building Union Diversity Program with a small ceremony at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562’s Training Center in Glasgow Village. Instructors and participants celebrating the achievement were (from left) Dr. John Gaal of Carpenters District Council, Andre Deloach, Ben Orwig, St. Louis Community College WorkKeys Solution Center Manger Jim Duane, Corey Harris, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Aboussie, Quinton Carter (behind Aboussie), Aaron Futrel, Curtis Williams (back) Sprinklerfitters Local 268 President and apprenticeship coordinator for the Missouri AFL-CIO Pat Dolan, Vernon Davis, Lisa Ramsay and Demitrice Wofford. – Labor Tribune file photo

The St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council launched its second BUD (Building Union Diversity) program last month with 13 new prospective candidates, Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Aboussie announced.

The innovative program’s first class of 12 already has nine gainfully employed in the construction industry. “That 75 percent success ratio has got to be one of the highest of its kind in the construction industry in any training program,” Aboussie said.

BUD is an eight-week comprehensive pre-apprenticeship, hands-on program that gives participants a real feel and understanding of a variety of construction trades. This will allow them to “taste” the trade and help the individual determine what they really want to be – and are capable of achieving.

“The success of this program relies on the contracting community’s support by hiring these young men and women once they graduate from the BUD program and are in a full-fledged apprenticeship program. I would remind everyone that unions don’t hire; we train. It’s up to the contractors to hire them once they are available.


“An improving construction economy plays a major role,” he added. “If we have work, and it’s now increasing here, then contractors need manpower. And that bodes well for the BUD program.”

Aboussie participating unions and others submitting names for consideration constantly should be recruiting potential BUD participants. “The construction industry is facing a continuing aging process where more people are going to be retiring in the not too distant future. We need to have the trained people to replace them. BUD is part of that overall effort.”

Participating in the program are Bricklayers Local 1, Operating Engineers Local 513, Iron Workers Local 396, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, Electrical Workers Local 1, the Carpenters’ District Council, and the Laborers’ District Council of Eastern Missouri.


BUD is a joint effort of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, the Carpenters’ District Council and the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council to bring more diversity to the St. Louis construction scene.

The program is a unique cooperative effort – the first of its kind in the U.S. – that brings labor, management, community groups, faith organizations and local government together to ensure all citizens have equal opportunity in the construction trades.


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