BUD program celebrates four successful years of increasing diversity in the building trades
By SHERI GASSAWAY
The St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council’s Building Union Diversity (BUD) program is celebrating its fourth successful year increasing diversity in the building trades with a reunion for all of its graduates this Thursday, Nov. 29.
The event, which will include appetizers and drinks, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council Union Hall at 1401 Hampton Ave. BUD mentors also are invited to attend.
BUD Program Director Russ Signorino said the reception is to celebrate the program’s success and the accomplishments of its graduates. Since the BUD program began, 142 participants have completed the five- to eight-week pre-apprenticeship and 120 (85 percent) have been placed in good paying jobs with union contractors.
“We’ve had many of our graduates ask how their BUD cohorts are doing,” Signorino said. “This is an opportunity for them to reconnect and catch up.”
ABOUT THE BUD PROGRAM
The BUD program was launched in 2014 as a recruitment tool to get more minorities and women into the building trades. It’s a partnership between the Building & Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, with funding from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.
HOW IT WORKS
Local unions open their training centers for pre-apprentices enrolled in the five- to eight-week program to give them basic training and a feel for each of the trades. United Way and Metro provide participants with transportation and assistance with other needs that may be preventing them from getting or keeping a job.
At the end of the program, participants take part in a graduation ceremony. Local union representatives and signatory contractors with job openings attend the ceremony, often hiring the new apprentices on the spot.
OTHER PROGRAM SUPPORT SERVICES
In addition to the pre-apprentice training the program provides, BUD also offers support services participants including:
• Transportation to the training centers from a central location.
• Bus passes.
• A $50 weekly stipend.
• Safety equipment (boots, helmet, glasses).
• Work clothing (pants and shirts).
• A $150 tool allowance once indentured to an apprentice program.
• Discretionary support funding through the United Way.
• Mentoring after the program from Missouri Women in Trades and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.
• Transportation after graduation.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Anyone interested in participating in a future BUD class should contact SLATE at 314-657-3545.
To RSVP for the reunion, contact Signorino at 314-303-6082 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.