Laborers' Academy Holds Minorities Graduation

Edited by Paul Fournier | September 28, 2010

Graduation ceremonies for trainees of the Minority Outreach Training Program were held recently at the New England Laborers' Training Academy (NELTA) in Pomfret, Conn.

More than 20 individuals received their certificates for successfully completing the construction employment training program, a joint effort of the New England Laborers (NEL) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The employment training program was established as a result of a $200,000 grant in December 2006 and is administered by the Hartford Jobs Funnel and Capital Workforce Partners.

"This is the result of a very comprehensive seven-week training program which included instruction about mason tending, general construction and life skills," said Charles LeConche, director of the Connecticut First Coalition, a training support alliance of building trades, minority groups and the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut (AGC/CT).

"Our huge training facility in Pomfret is fully equipped to provide comprehensive courses in general construction, hazardous waste remediation, lead and asbestos abatement, and a number of other building and construction trades disciplines," he said. "The program offered talented Hartford area individuals classroom and hands-on instruction, allowing them to form the roots of a life-long career ..."

Welcoming and closing remarks were made by Joseph M. Sabitoni, NELTA training director. Speakers included: Paul Doyle, Connecticut state senator; Charles Sheehan, CEO, Metropolitan District Commission; John Farnham, Connecticut Construction Industry Association; Minnie Gonzalez, Connecticut state representative; Jo Winch, Hartford City Council; Joseph Guidry, previous graduate, Minority Outreach Training Program; and Vanessa Holmes, trainee, Minority Outreach Training Program.

Dominic Izzi, NEL Connecticut Apprenticeship Coordinator, presented the graduation certificates.

NELTA offers standardized education and training programs developed by the Laborers' AGC Education and Training Fund, a partnership between Laborers' International Union of North America and the Associated General Contractors of America. Since its establishment in 1969, this nonprofit labor/management trust fund has provided training programs, administered grants to support curriculum development and training, and offered technical support and professional and technical development opportunities.

The Hartford Jobs Funnel, a program under the administration of Capital Workforce Partners, assists Hartford residents to prepare for construction jobs. Since 1999, the organization has placed over 750 Hartford residents in such construction jobs as asbestos workers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, laborers, operating engineers, painters, plumbers, roofers, and sheet metal workers.

Over 300 Connecticut businesses have used the resources of the Hartford Jobs Funnel for a source of labor.

The Connecticut First Coalition supports laws that promote responsible Connecticut contractors and the people who work for them. The group also supports training and apprenticeship programs for Connecticut residents and the use of project labor agreements, which cities and towns have employed to put their residents back to work. Members of the Connecticut First Coalition include the Greater Hartford-New Britain Building Trades, Minority Construction Council, Associated General Contractors, and the Laborers' District Council.