The Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment (C.H.O.I.C.E.) announced on September 23 a "Commitment to Action" on youth employment in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
The announcement was made as part of an effort led by Secretary Hillary Clinton and CGI to focus increased attention on the challenging issue of youth employment opportunities in the United States.
North America's Building Trades Unions have embarked upon a regional workforce development initiative targeting the National Capital Region of the United States, including the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Maryland and the surrounding area in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The initiative is called the Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment (C.H.O.I.C.E.), and its mission is to work with industry, government and community leaders to raise workforce development and labor protection standards and to provide increased career training opportunities for young people, women, minorities and transitioning military veterans via pathways into the registered apprenticeship system.
The commitment announced today will involve the creation of a new apprenticeship-readiness program to serve approximately 125 unemployed National Capital region youth between the ages of 18-24 over the next five years.
"We are excited to be joining with Secretary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative in a commitment to action that will result in increased career opportunities for young people in the greater National Capital Region," said Mark Coles, Executive Director of C.H.O.I.C.E.
"Our building trades unions have an excellent track record of implementing these types of structured, apprenticeship-readiness programs in close cooperation with local government and community leaders in metropolitan areas such as Milwaukee, New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and, most recently, Detroit," said Coles. "We are excited to launch such a program in the National Capital Region."
The leaders of C.H.O.I.C.E. will begin this process of training 25 local youths per year for the next five years by convening meetings of relevant workforce stakeholders, in order establish roles as well as duties and responsibilities of each of the partners.
C.H.O.I.C.E. will also provide technical assistance based upon best practices from successful Building Trades programs around the country; integrate the Department of Labor-certified Building Trades Multi-Craft Core Curriculum in the program; and engage regional construction unions, training directors, community based organizations, government leaders and the contracting community to develop a sustainable pathway into the registered apprenticeship system for historically underserved populations, including young people, women, minorities, and our nation's military veterans.
C.H.O.I.C.E is also committed to seeking investment capital via union pension funds and other investment vehicles that, in conjunction with public investments, will further help generate jobs and career training opportunities that are critical to the success of this commitment.