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United Way, Habitat partner to offer appreticeships to Place Matters community

United Way, Habitat partner to offer appreticeships to Place Matters community
July 21
14:47 2021

$5,000 bonus to those who complete 12-month program

The United Way and Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County have partnered together and are seeking applicants for a construction apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship is an expansion upon the Place Matters program United Way has had in place for several years to help revitalize several communities in East Winston-Salem.

This is a 12-month, full-time program with benefits. It includes pay of $12.95/hour, free on-the-job training and a $5,000 bonus upon completion. Applicants must be 18 or older and live in one of the 13 neighborhoods of the Place Matters which are: Bowen Park, Cardinal Acres, Castle Heights, Eastgate Village, Ebony Hills, Dreamland, LaDeara Crest, Lakeside, Monticello Park, Northwood Estate, Prospect Park, Spaulding Drive, and Wildwood Park.

“What we heard from our community, the representatives from the Place Matters footprint, is that the work that we are doing over there is great, but they want to see it expand to also affect the economic mobility of the people who live there in the community, particularly through creating apprenticeship opportunities,” said Rodd Smith, director of place-based initiatives for United Way. 

“That’s really where we are today: how do we create these opportunities for people to gain a skill that once the apprenticeship is over, they can take it and be translated into real-time employment. That’s really where we find ourselves.”

According to Smith, their commitment to apprenticeship not only aligns with what the residents have identified as a need in the community, but it also aligns with United Way’s strategic plan to increase the economic mobility of the community as a whole.

The only problem they are having is finding candidates to fill the open positions. George Redd, chief program officer for Habitat for Humanity, says they have interviewed several candidates, but have yet to find the right ones. They are hoping to get the word out to hopefully have the apprenticeships filled sooner, rather than later.

“I never would have thought it would have been a day when we’re trying to get people signed up to give them a job and also pay them $5,000 at the end of it, that we would have problems,” said Redd. “We are trying to reach out to more people to get the word out and pass the word around.

“I think it’s a really good program, because when you have something like this, what you’re doing is providing a skill set to people. Here we are trying to show you what construction is like through this apprenticeship and I think that is invaluable and something you can’t put a price tag on.”

There is no previous experience in construction needed for an applicant to be considered. Redd also wanted to stress that those who have a criminal history will not be excluded, so they are encouraged to apply as well.  

“Somebody that has a willingness to learn, somebody who is coachable, somebody who is not afraid of hard work and somebody who wants to learn a new skill set that will be able to help provide for them and their families in the future,” Redd said of the ideal candidate. “If you can learn this skill and maybe go into business for yourself one day, because that’s what it’s all about, community and economic mobility.”

Throughout the 12-month program, the apprentices would learn a multitude of skills ranging from, but not limited to, flooring, roofing, tiling, plumbing, HVAC and electrical. Those skills will be broken down to the basics, so they learn all the necessary tools.

Smith says he knows part of the reason they have not found the right people for the apprenticeship positions could be due to the pandemic and people are not totally comfortable coming back outside yet.  

For more information about the apprenticeship, please contact George Redd at george.redd@nullhabitatforsyth.org or Rodd Smith at rodd.smith@nulluwforsyth.org.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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