(BUFFALO) – Fourteen City of Buffalo Public High School students have been awarded trades-oriented scholarships valued at a combined $84,000 from the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council’s Pre-Apprenticeship Education and Training Trust Fund, which is funding the effort under a 10-cent-per-hour contribution from Union-represented construction workers and Member Contractors working on Buffalo’s $1 billion school renovation project.
This is the second year the Trades Council’s Pre-Apprenticeship Education and Training Trust Fund has awarded a round of construction scholarships. Last year, four were given. That number more than tripled this year to 14. Both IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 41 President Michael Franey and fellow Trust Fund Board Member Michael McNally, who also serves at business manager of U.A. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local No. 22, are hopeful of doubling that number of scholarships next year.
“The Trades and construction owners were willing to put up the funding, and they and the schools all stimulated interest and created an avenue for students to participate in the construction industry. You just cannot forget the source for this effort (the 10 cents per hour contribution that comes from the Buffalo Schools Project). It can be considered as yet another successful by-product of the Project Labor Agreement (PLA),” stressed Franey, who also told WNYLaborToday.com the scholarships are “good for both the community and the minority community, and once again demonstrates the Building Trades’ commitment to increasing the number of minorities members within its ranks.”
“This is a great opportunity,” McNally tells WNYLaborToday.com. “Fifteen-hundred dollars can make or break it for many who want to go to college. Many of the scholarship award winners are going on to the University at Buffalo and Erie Community College, and we’re very pleased with those who have been awarded these scholarships.”
After completing the application process that also included submission of a composition detailing their interest in different aspects of the construction industry, the scholarship award winners have chosen to go into the following construction fields: Architecture, Architectural/CAD; Architectural Technology, Building Trades, Carpentry, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Science and Mechanical Engineering.
Each recipient will receive a yearly $1,500 scholarship, which could be awarded for a maximum of four years if the student is enrolled in good standing in a college program that leads to either a degree in a construction or architecture-related field, Trust Fund officials said. In addition, students/scholarship award winners must maintain a Grade Point Average of 2.0 or higher.
“We’re excited about the increase (from four to 14). Young people in the Buffalo schools are now being educated about the opportunities within the construction industry and the kids are realizing that it’s a career and are taking a closer look at it,” Construction Industry Employers Association Executive Vice President & Trust Fund Board Member James Logan said.
“The ten cents an hour from the Buffalo Schools Project is being put back into the community and I can’t think of a better way to re-invest that money into our community. It will really pay off for those who go on to a career in the construction industry and hopefully we’ll be able to retain them and have them work and live here in Western New York,” Logan said.
LP Ciminelli Construction Corporation President Dar Almeter, who is also a Trust Fund Board Member, told WNYLaborToday.com that he was pleased how qualified this year’s applicants were, because in the end the Building Trades Unions, as well as construction employers, are looking for “qualified people to hire, who one day might become management themselves.”
“This is a great investment in getting the best possible return when it comes to the construction industry these days. And from experience, we’ve found that after ten to fifteen years in the Trades, some individuals in the Trades wind up going into management,” Almeter said.
McNally, meanwhile, singled out Franey for “getting the word out in the schools by meeting with counselors and helping spread the message” and LP Ciminelli Construction’s Tyra Johnson, who serves as the construction company’s Project Manager/Diversity & Neighborhood Development, for also doing a “great job” in getting the word out regarding the available scholarships.
Franey added that a combination of efforts, including the Building Trades’ annual Western New York Construction Career Days Event – which introduces high school students from across the region to a career in the Unionized Trades, as well as LP Ciminelli’s ACE Mentoring Program – not only helped spread the word regarding the scholarships through Buffalo’s Public Schools, but also helped to develop key relationships with a number of key officials in the City of Buffalo that worked to bring about a multitude of positive results, including: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo Schools Superintendent James Williams and Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore.
As such, the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council’s Pre-Apprenticeship Education and Training Trust Fund Scholarship Award Winners for the 2009-2010 school year are:
Architecture: Lauren Walker and Matthew Velez, both Hutchinson Central Technical High School graduates who are both entering the University at Buffalo.
Architectural/CAD: Frank Sacco, Hutchinson Central Technical High School/Erie Community College (ECC).
Architectural Technology: Curtis Gardner, McKinley High School/ECC.
Building Trades: Willie Stone, Burgard High School/Alfred State.
Carpentry: Jeramie Conklin, McKinley High School/Alfred State; Daniel Jurgielewicz, McKinley High School/Alfred State; and James Kirk, South High School/ECC.
Construction Management: Deyron Tabb, BAVPA/ECC; Engineering: Ryaynale Jamison, Hutchinson Central Technical High School/Alfred State.
Electrical Engineering: Kristina Pagan, Hutchinson Central Technical High School /ECC.
Engineering Science: Justin Hawkins and Ashley Vento, both from Hutchinson Central Technical High School who are both entering ECC.
Mechanical Engineering: Thomas Fields, Hutchinson Central Technical High School /ECC.
The Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council’s Pre-Apprenticeship Education and Training Trust Fund’s Trustees include Almeter, Franey, Logan and McNally, as well as: Bricklayers Local 3/Buffalo Chapter Field Representative Mike DiVirgilio; John W. Danforth Company President Emmett Reilly; Laborers Local 210 Business Manager Sam Capitano; Ferguson Electric Construction Division President Angelo Veanes; and Glenn Stoltman of the John W. Danforth Company’s Sheet Metal Division.
The Buffalo Building Trades Council represents 10,000 construction workers across Western New York and is comprised of the following member Unions: Asbestos Workers Local 4; Boilermakers Local 7; Bricklayers Local 3; Carpenters Local 289; Cement Masons Local 111; Electrical Workers Local 41; Elevator Constructors Local 14; Ironworkers Local 6; Laborers Local 210; Millwrights Local 1163; Operating Engineers Local 17; Painters District Council 4; Plasterers Local 9; U.A. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 22; Roofers Local 74; Sheet Metal Workers Local 71; U.A. Road Sprinklerfitters Local 669; and Teamsters Local 449.