Facilities and Operations Supports New Cohort for Pre-Apprenticeship Program to Prepare Diverse and Local Job Seekers for Union Careers in Construction

April 10, 2023

Columbia University Facilities and Operations has partnered with the New York City Small Business Services (SBS) to support the launch of a new cohort for Pathways to Apprenticeship’s (P2A) Direct Entry Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship, a workforce development program that provides New York City residents from socially and economically disadvantaged communities a pathway toward a stable job with benefits in the construction industry. This is the fourth time the University supports the program to help create opportunities for the local union workforce. 

The new cohort, which began in March 2023 at the Dempsey Center in West Harlem, prioritized minorities, women, and Upper Manhattan residents, although it was open to residents of all five boroughs. 25 people were admitted into the cohort, seven of which are from Upper Manhattan.

25 minorities, women, residents from Upper Manhattan were accepted into the 2023 cohort P2A

Since P2A started in 2013, the organization has assisted nearly 600 people from across New York City to gain access to building trades apprenticeship programs, with 84 percent of graduates landing jobs at construction sites across New York City.  

The main goal of P2A is to help people from low-income communities create careers, not just jobs. In five weeks, participants are provided with certified skills and trainings needed for direct entry into paid union apprenticeships that put them on a path to becoming laborers, carpenters, and electricians among other careers in construction. As participants complete the program, P2A tracks construction apprenticeship openings with unions citywide so that once they graduate, participants can have direct access to interviews for apprenticeships. Through a network of peer mentors established by P2A, graduates also receive résumé assistance, interview coaching, and aptitude test preparation.  

Columbia’s support of the program has opened doors for participants like Mahogany Jones, a Harlem resident, to union construction jobs. After completing the program in 2019, Jones secured construction work at  Columbia’s Manhattanville campus

Columbia has a strong commitment to supporting the local community through housing, healthcare, education and employment, and contributing to P2A’s pre-apprenticeship program is just one of the ways the University fulfills these efforts. 

For more information on the P2A program and updates about information sessions and upcoming classes, visit p2atrades.org.