Elevator Union Working with Pre-Apprenticeship Nonprofit to Provide Career Paths for Under-Represented Groups

ElevatorInfo recently sat down with Desalia Gomes, a second-year elevator constructor apprentice at @International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 4 in Boston who got her start through a pre-apprenticeship program for the union building trades at Building Pathways. “Having taken this road is super-exciting. My career is exceptional,” she says.

For several years, IUEC Local 4 has partnered with the Boston-based nonprofit organization to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement strategies for under-represented groups in the elevator industry. For people who are new to the building trades, pre-apprenticeship programs like this one provide a solid foundation in the basics of working in the construction industry.

Building Pathways’ mission is to increase the number of diverse workers in the building trades workforce, particularly women, people of color, and young adults. Their pre-apprenticeship program provides over 200 hours of career readiness and occupational skills training, along with case management and placement services to help their students become competitive applicants during the recruitment process for union construction trades, including electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, sheet metal workers, elevator constructors, laborers, ironworkers, drywall finishers, and more. In addition to teaching them things like how to wear PPE and use basic hand and measurement tools, the program connects students with referrals to community resources including childcare, transportation, and housing. By the time they graduate from training, they’re ready to begin careers in the union building trades.

In the video posted here, Desalia shares the story of how Building Pathways provided an access point for her starting her dream job in the elevator industry. Like many of the people who pursue careers in this trade, Desalia was drawn in by the challenge of developing the wide range of knowledge and advanced skill set that elevator mechanics need to be successful. “I knew I would never be bored,” she says. “You’re going to learn how to put in floors or do carpentry, you’re going to learn how to weld… you have the ability to do all of the different trades.”

The appeal of job growth and new opportunities inside of the elevator trade seem to equally excite her. “I want to make sure I’m not stuck in one place… I want to make sure I have avenues for growth… there is no ceiling here.”

For more information about the Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship program, visit their website at https://buildingpathwaysma.org/pre-apprenticeship-program/