Senator James Skoufis announced on April 25, $200,000 of state funding dedicated to a pre-apprenticeship program in the City of Newburgh. The program is looking to give 50 participants the opportunity to get skills needed to apply for an apprenticeship at Local Labor Union 17.
“While our economy may be strong for some families, many individuals continue to struggle with a low-paying job or persistent unemployment,” said Senator James Skoufis. “This pre-apprenticeship program will recruit local residents who need an opportunity and a second chance. I fought to bring this initiative to Newburgh because it’ll put upwards of 50 families, who otherwise would likely be stuck in a cycle of poverty, on a career track with good pay, good benefits, and household stability.”
The program will mirror two similar programs already set in place in Rochester and Long Island by the Work Development Institute (WDI). The institute will look to take the program from Long Island and Rochester to match the needs of the Hudson Valley. They will work with Todd Diorio, President of the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council, to make sure Newburgh residents get the training and the skills needed to succeed in his apprentice program.
“The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) is committed to expanding opportunities to not just jobs but careers,” said Mary Jane Bertram of the WDI. “When you enter a construction apprenticeship, you are entering a lifelong career path. WDI will work closely with the Hudson Valley Construction and Building Trades Council to develop a program that will better prepare participants for possible apprenticeship opportunities.”
Diorio has taken City of Newburgh residents into his apprentice program before, but after seeing low graduation rates and little cooperation from previous city councils he took a step back from outreach programs in the city. The graduation rates for WDI programs in Long Island and Rochester run from 95 to 100 percent, a promising number to Diorio. He has also seen newfound energy with the current city council and City Manager Joe Donat.
“I commend Senator Skoufis for taking this step,” said Diorio. “I look forward to working closely with the City and Town of Newburgh in recruiting people for this program. We want to create opportunities for our community members and will be sure to work with local municipalities on projects. College isn’t for everyone, and this gives people another pathway to reach their goals.”
The program will be entirely free to participants, with a pathway into the apprenticeship program. Diorio currently has five of 12 apprentices in his current program from the City of Newburgh. He is excited to bring in more residents through the pre-apprenticeship program.
“On behalf of the mayor and city council we are very appreciative of this opportunity,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “I am a member of the Newburgh Teachers Association so I am in support of all unions and what they do. I know that these ladies and gentleman [in the program] do hard work and honest work and it’s good pay. We are excited in the City of Newburgh to have 50 of our residents to take part in this pre-apprenticeship program and to be in the fall apprenticeship program.”