SLATE Enrolls Construction Apprentices In STL Union Trades

Pre-apprenticeship is seeking more women and African Americans to get high wage and in demand union jobs

March 24, 2015 | 2 min reading time

This article is 7 years old. It was published on March 24, 2015.


The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) American Job Center (AJC) and the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council announce the opportunity to enroll in the new trade union pre-apprenticeship program, Building Union Diversity, or BUD. The program is designed to provide pre-apprenticeship skills training for St. Louis City residents, especially minorities, women and the long-term unemployed who are interested in pursuing one of many available careers in construction.

The first BUD class of 9 students, including 8 African Americans and one woman, graduated in November 2014. All 8 of the 9 graduates are now employed within the construction trades locally. The next class is expected to graduate 20 students with an equally successful employment rate within a few months.

BUD is a comprehensive and intensive eight-week pre-apprenticeship skills training course, taught by nationally certified and industry approved specialists in state-of-the-art facilities. Participants learn the skills required to enter into an apprenticeship with one of many participating construction trades. Eligible participants can be provided with work-related equipment, transportation to training sites, and a training stipend (upon completion of the program).

To qualify, participants must be:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Laid off or long-term unemployed;
  • Able to pass a drug test.

To enroll, interested individuals must:

  • Visit SLATE, 1520 Market St., 3rd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63103, Monday –Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Complete an application and assessment.

SLATE recommends parking at the Kiel Center Garage, situated immediately behind our building, at the corner of Clark &16th. Fees: $1 per hour.

A number of construction companies who have hired BUD students report that they are highly satisfied with the work ethic and positive attitude demonstrated. "They [BUD graduates] get the job done, they present themselves well and are constantly demanded back," says Dan Lester, Director of Contractor Relations &Personnel Recruitment at Concrete Strategies, a Clayco subsidiary.

Lester states that motivated people who graduate from apprenticeship programs have opportunities for high-wage employment: "I don't know very many people with MBAs who get paid as well as a journeyman laborer. They get paid very well."

In addition, those who successfully complete BUD earn national skills certifications and certificates as they progress. The training takes places in both classroom and shop environments, and is provided by participating union training program providers including Brick Layers, Carpenters, IBEW Local 1 Electrical Workers, Iron Workers, L.I.U.N.A. Construction Craft Laborers, Operating Engineers Local 513, and Plumbers &Pipefitters Local 562.

Building Union Diversity was made possible through a comprehensive network of participating joint labor-management Construction Skills training providers, SLATE, the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD).

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