Building A Better Life

Between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. is projected to need more than 500, 000 new carpenter and construction laborers. Yet, as Stephen Hernandez, director of the boatbuilding apprentice program at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation says, 'People don't work with their hands anymore.' In fact, there are two million jobs available today that are going unfilled because there are no skilled workers available. This new program in the series looks at successful apprentice and training-based programs preparing under-educated and unemployed people for available jobs by teaching valuable skills. Two of the featured programs work primarily with young adults, many of whom lack a high school diploma or equivalency, and help them improve their academic, life, and employment skills while learning a valuable trade. In addition to Alexandria Seaport Foundation's boatbuilding apprentice program, Dropping Back In features Cafe Hope, a culinary apprentice program in New Orleans. Also featured is The Makers Coalition of Minneapolis, a training program in sewing manufacturing that began when a local company discovered a hugely successful niche in making domestically manufactured high-end leather goods, but couldn't find enough skilled workers. Their dilemma led to a partnership with a local technical college to develop a course and train people in need of marketable skills.

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