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    Construction Workforce graduates success stories

    (5/10/2006) Thanks to the Construction Workforce Initiative 2, Brenda Whitfield, a Housing Authority resident raising five children on her own, is on her way to becoming an electrician. Brenda is one of 32 city residents who will graduate Thursday from the City of New Haven’s Construction Workforce Initiative. The graduation takes place Thursday, May 11, 2006, 3 p.m. at the Hall of Records, 200 Orange St., Ground Floor.

    Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. created the Construction Workforce Initiative as a way to insure that substantial numbers of the high-wage construction jobs created by the citywide school construction program would be held by minorities, women and New Haven residents. Residents are trained in carpentry, painting, electrical work, plumbing and other construction trade skills. Nichole Jefferson, executive director of the Commission on Equal Opportunity, said a total of 32 are graduating, out of a pool of 178 applicants.

    “The mission of the Construction Workforce Initiative is to identify and nurture cadres of New Haven residents who can take part in the city’s booming construction industry,” the Mayor said. “We are now in the second phase of this program and it is focused on the school construction program, which we estimate generates $73.5 million in wages. Our goal is to insure that our own residents, including women and minorities, can reap the benefits of the school construction program and participate in the economic development of our City.”

    Althea Marshall-Richardson, Pres/CEO of Empower New Haven said Empower New Haven is pleased that 24 of the graduates are empowerment zone residents. “We have been very pleased to partner with the city in financially supporting the Construction Workforce Initiative because this initiative brings tangible value to our investments and promotes community building in so many ways,” she said.

    The program, run by the City’s Commission on Equal Opportunities, builds on relationships with the region’s construction industry, the Greater New Haven Building Trades and the New Haven Public Schools. Upon entering the program, Whitfield first worked in a temporary assignment for Anderson Turf, making $35 an hour renovating the city’s Pop Warner ball fields. She did so well, Local 90 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has taken her on as an electrical apprentice working for Ed-Mor Electric. Ed-Mor will employ her on an upcoming school construction project.

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