A retirement celebration for Russ Signorino, who has served as Building Union Diversity (BUD) program director since 2017, and a reunion for all graduates of the BUD program is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 9.
The party will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the IBEW Local 1 union hall at 5850 Elizabeth Ave. in St. Louis. The event, sponsored by the Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri Works Initiative and the United Way, will feature live music from Steve and Steve and refreshments.
Signorino, who has more than 40 years of workforce development experience, will retire from BUD at the end of the year. Aurora Bihler, a seven-year member of Iron Workers Local 396, will take over his position as BUD program coordinator. Bihler has been cross-training with Signorino since October.
The BUD program, created by the St. Louis Building Trades Council, began in 2014 as a recruitment tool to encourage more minorities and women to get into the union building trades. The five-week pre-apprenticeship program offers pre-apprentices the opportunity to visit local building trade unions to give them hands-on basic training and a feel for each of the trades.
The BUD program has a 91 percent graduation rate and an 82 percent placement rate since it began seven years ago. Of those who have graduated from the program, 80 percent are minorities, 24 percent are women and six percent are veterans.
Based on the success of the BUD program and with the sponsorship and support of the Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri Works Initiative took over the work of replicating the BUD STL training and recruiting model statewide. The goal is to continue to increase construction trade participation among traditionally underrepresented groups, including minorities and women.
Guests are asked to RSVP by Dec. 3 by sending an email to Bihler at firstname.lastname@example.org.