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Building Trades Apprenticeship-Readiness Program

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Building Trades Apprenticeship-Readiness Program

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Dawn Renee Benitez is an American hero. A one-time Staff Sergeant with the U.S. Army, Dawn served with distinction, earning an Iraq Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star. Unfortunately, and like all too many of America’s military veterans today, Dawn has found it increasingly difficult to find meaningful employment and career opportunities in civilian life.
But through the joint efforts of Southern Company, Georgia Power and North America’s Building Trades Unions and its “Helmets to Hardhats” program, Dawn is now on the path to securing a stable and prosperous career as a union iron worker through an apprenticeship with Ironworkers Local 709 in Augusta, GA.
Benitez was one of 15 men and women who graduated February 2nd from a three-week apprenticeship-readiness program co-sponsored by Southern Company and the Augusta Building Trades. Of those 15 students, 40% were female and 87% were persons of color.
“This is an opportunity that is going to change my life,” said Benitez, shortly after receiving her certificate. “I can’t thank Southern Company, Georgia Power and the Building Trades enough for this great career opportunity.” She will soon enter the three-year apprenticeship with Iron Workers Local 709 in Augusta, GA.
The apprenticeship-readiness program has dual objectives: 1) to ensure a steady supply of safe, productive skilled craft professionals that are needed for the on-going construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 and other local projects; and 2) focus on diversifying the construction industry by recruiting increasing numbers of women, minorities and military veterans into the skilled trades.
“We are excited and proud to have a second class graduate from our apprenticeship-readiness program at Plant Vogtle,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions. “Achieving our objective of bringing wider and greater diversity to the construction trades in Georgia would not have been as successful if not for the enthusiastic support and cooperation from Southern Company and Georgia Power.”
Kim Flowers, Vice President, Engineering, Southern Company Services, which is the parent company of Georgia Power, the owner of the Plant Vogtle facility, said that the graduates from the apprenticeship-readiness program are proving to be well-prepared for rigors and expectations that come with skilled craft jobs, especially those associated with the highly technical nature of nuclear construction.
“We are excited that some of the students in the first class of graduates from this program are matriculating successfully into qualified and productive apprentices on the Vogtle site,” said Flowers. “And we are hopeful that some students from this graduating class will join them.”
The curriculum for the program is North America’s Building Trades’ nationally recognized Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3), a comprehensive, 120-hour apprenticeship-readiness training program. The MC3 was developed and approved by the Building Trades’ National Apprenticeship and Training Committee, which is comprised of the National Training Directors of the 14 Building Trades affiliate unions. In 2012, the US Department of Labor awarded the MC3 the DOL’s Innovator and Trailblazer Award at the Department’s 75th Anniversary Celebration.

North America’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada


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