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Westchester County Issues RFP for Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program; Holds Industry Job Fairs
WHITE PLAINS—As part of its new local workforce policy, the County of Westchester Industrial Development Agency has issued a Request for Proposal for the launch of a pre-apprenticeship program to help create construction careers for county residents and fill positions on IDA-induced development projects. The county, as part of its workforce development initiatives, also recently held two well-attended job fairs for the construction and hospitality sectors.
This Pre-Apprenticeship Program will give participants training and exposure to the construction trades and is an important tool for building a strong local talent pipeline, the IDA stated in a recent announcement.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Our local contractors need skilled tradespeople to advance their projects and this program will help build a pool of qualified applicants for them to tap into. Our goal with this pre-apprenticeship program is to improve productivity and stimulate positivity and profitability while maintaining talent right here in the county as businesses continue to develop and grow.”
Joan McDonald, chairperson of the County of Westchester Industrial Development Agency and Director of Operations for Westchester County, added, “This Pre-apprenticeship Program will give individuals a competitive advantage when they advance to an apprenticeship program or gain employment with a licensed contractor. There are a number of exciting construction projects taking place in Westchester County and this program will play an important role in cultivating skilled talent to work on these projects.”
According to the RFP, the pre-apprenticeship program will fund and/or reimburse training providers in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00. In order to be considered “successful,” trainees must graduate from the pre-apprenticeship program and advance to a New York State registered apprenticeship program or employed with a local contractor. The pre-apprenticeship training must take place in the county. The agency will allocate funds to the provider in its sole discretion, which may include up to 50% of the funds provided at the beginning of the pre-apprenticeship program with the balance of any funds being paid during the course of the pre-apprenticeship program.
Funds may cover items directly related to the training of the participants, including tuition, instructor fees, travel costs, tools and other training materials, and participant stipends, the RFP states.
Responses to the RFP were due Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. Award notification is expected shortly.
On Aug., 25, the Westchester County IDA staged a Construction Career Fair at the New York Power Authority building in White Plains that drew nearly 200 job seekers to learn about current employment opportunities in construction. Among the job opportunities available to attendees were those for: laborers, carpenters, plumbers, painters, drivers, electricians, sheetrockers, building maintenance, security and masonry.
Bridget Gibbons, Westchester County Director of Economic Development said, “The Construction Career Fair gave Westchester County residents (and residents of Bronx, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Rockland counties) the forum to learn about career opportunities in the construction industry, specifically The Mitchell and Gateway II projects in White Plains. These are important projects for our local economy and we are happy to support the talent acquisition process for these and other construction projects.”
Gateway II is a major mixed-use development in Downtown White Plains near the Metro-North train station. Also located in White Plains, The Mitchell is a two-tower, mixed-use development that is slated to house both luxury apartments and retail.
On Oct. 14, Westchester County held a Tourism & Hospitality Job Fair at the Marriott Westchester Tarrytown. Sponsored by Westchester Tourism & Film, in conjunction with the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, Westchester-Putnam Career Center Network, and the Westchester Hotel Association, the event attracted more than 300 job seekers and 32 exhibiting employers.
Gibbons added that in connection with its workforce development initiatives, the county is planning on launching a pre-apprenticeship program for the advanced manufacturing industry in the near future.