St. Louis' Apprenticeship Program Earns Two Federal Awards

The St. Louis District Council’s attention to training made its mark on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent 75th anniversary celebration by being honored for two of its unique outreach programs and earning DOL Office of Apprenticeship 21st Century Registered Apprenticeship Trailblazer and Innovator awards.

One honor went to a pre-apprenticeship program developed for at-risk high school students and operated by the Floor Layers Joint Apprenticeship Program. The effort is designed to prepare high school juniors and seniors with less than a C letter-grade average for a career in the construction trades, while connecting their learning and experiences to the community college for further education.

“The St. Louis apprenticeship program has always been one of the most accomplished training centers in the UBC’s INSTALL floorcovering program. In fact, INSTALL was launched there. Their inspiration in creating a program to recruit and assist new professionals for the next generation of INSTALL is impressive and a great model,” said John McGrath, director of the UBC INSTALL program.

Also recognized was the Green Construction Corps (GCC), sponsored by the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, St. Louis Habitat for Humanity, and a host of government and community organizations. GCC offers green construction and weatherization technician pre-apprenticeship training and related job experience to at-risk groups. Those benefiting from this program include at-risk youth, ex-offenders, and dislocated workers.

The results of each program are telling: More than 95 percent of students involved in the floor layer program not only completed high school, but accomplished apprenticeship requirements. In the GCC program, more than 95 percent of participants not only graduated from the program, but are also employed by signatory contractors.

“The sound career choice and quality of life afforded by being a union carpenter sells itself to these alternative groups,” said Terry Nelson, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Missouri District Council of Carpenters.

“At the same time, it addresses construction needs in our region with a pool of home-grown talent that is trained and skilled to effectively meet our contractors’ needs.”

Bayless Middle Apprenticeship Program Recipients (L to R): US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; Dr. John Gaal, St. Louis Carpenter District Council's (CARPDC) Director of Training & Workforce Development; CARPDC Eric Kastner, Floor Layer Instructor -- Bayless High School; Greg Hefele, CARPDC Coordinator -- Floor Layer Joint Apprenticeship Program; Larry Rebman, Director, Missouri Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations; John Ladd, National Director of US-DOL's Office of Apprenticeship
GCC Program Award Recipients (L to R): US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; Dr. John Gaal, St. Louis Carpenter District Council's (CARPDC) Director of Training & Workforce Development; Bruce Bird, Coordinator -- SEMO Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Training; Larry Rebman, Director, Missouri Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations; John Ladd, National Director of US-DOL's Office of Apprenticeship