Pittsburgh has focused its redevelopment efforts in distressed neighborhoods with the expressed goal of
helping lower-income individuals reside near employment opportunities. 1 Creating Quality Jobs: Transforming the Economic
There is the ever challenging need to train and put minority residents to work on redevelopment projects. While it has been said, minority communities in the Pittsburgh region are and have been uniquely situated to benefit from economic redevelopment efforts; yet distressed neighborhoods lack adequate resources to create a diverse workforce of skilled workers prepared to participate in new development projects. Workforce development and job creation are the most pressing topics on the minds of the unemployed and under-employed every day, many do not have the skill sets to advance and/or are stuck in low paying jobs, barely scratching the surface, to maintain family-sustaining income.
Seen as a need to re-address these concerns, the dormant East End Workforce Development Taskforce [EEWFDTF] is being revived as a way to consolidate a broad-based coalition of stakeholders to address job creation, workforce development and training, community and housing development issues in the African- American communities. As originally intended, the East End Workforce Development Taskforce was charged with generating sector-based strategies that creates systemic change that benefits both employers and workers through working collaboratively with government, community and industry leaders, to help minorities become more competitive by connecting lower-income individuals with specific training that will assess the current skills of the available workforce; identify the gaps in required skills; and initiate plans and processes to close thes e gaps leading to employment in jobs that offer the promise of financial stability and significant growth.
The East End Workforce Development Taskforce, with your referral, would like to establish a relationship to work with our local Workforce Investment Board on Construction Trades and Green Energy industries issues that are consistent with President Obama’s goals to expand job training programs and facilitate resources to achieve inclusion by African Americans and other minorities.
With this in mind, Community Empowerment Association (CEA) and Ma’at Construction Group are collaborating on how to address the need for creating a community-driven skilled ready labor workforce in the Construction and Green Energy industries. Our intent is to provide a mechanism, through our newest East End Workforce Development and Training Program– Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP) –this exciting resource has been developed to meet the needs of local public & private developers, general contractors, businesses and organizations; that can be easily accessed by those needing to recruit and retain qualified community residents and businesses to fulfill MWDBE, as well as, HUD Section 3 participant goals and requirements on development projects.
The STEP program, entails a structured training environment that develops skill sets by offering an intensive curriculum in construction industry areas; such as carpentry fundamentals, intro to construction math, intro to hand and power tools, lead abatement, OSHA-10 basic safety, intro to construction drawings, energy efficiency & weatherization and hands on field training, as well as being the single point of contact guiding jobseekers to suitable employment and facilitating the connection between employers and qualified workers.
Historically, the challenge of training programs has been the inability to place trainees on the job; what is uniquely different about our approach is, once trained, workers will have the choice and opportunity to: 1) gain actual work experience by working directly with Ma’at Construction Group or other contractors; 2) enter Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Trades Program; 3) qualify for Apprentice Training; or 4) start a business by being self- employed. As a way to link trainees with follow up training and employment opportunities in the construction field; we are also establishing a construction workforce clearinghouse database that will identify qualified, skilled and semi-skilled workers from minority communities with specific skill sets i.e. carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers and labors as well as helpers that can meet the demands of the job. The construction workforce clearinghouse database will build capacity through information sharing and as a result strengthen our capabilities to serve those
who are on the path to self-sufficiency
To change these disparities and make sure all employable residents get a “fair and just shot”, we implore you to do
all you can to support these workforce development initiatives that will prepare a trained workforce ready to respond to the growing construction industry needs. Here at Community Empowerment Association, our services have been recognized throughout the city as being one of the most dependable and professional in the market.
We would like to invite you to our training facility to observe our initiative and to talk more specifically about how an investment by you can be made into this program. By providing us a letter of support and/or accepting our invitation to send a representative to our training facility to observe our initiative and discuss how our program can impact the Pittsburgh region, you will be investing in this comprehensive approach that re-develops the way that community and economic development affects the minority workforce in the Pittsburgh region.
T. Rashad Byrdsong
November 30, 2012