WHDC Congratulates P2A Graduates!
December 12, 2020
“P2A helped make a dream since high school come true.” Jason O.
“You changed my life more than you know.” Vennie G.
West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC) supported Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) has successfully completed its 2020 Upper Manhattan Direct Entry Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program. In a virtual ceremony held on Friday, December 11, 2020, 20 upper Manhattan, majority West Harlem, residents graduated becoming the third cohort in the area. Family, friends, and supporters were on hand to cheer on the newly minted graduates (including two women) who are now eligible to apply for available apprenticeships, setting them up for a future career in the construction trades.
The six-week pre-apprenticeship program, which started in November 2020 with priority for West Harlem residents, certifies participants with the key skills and required safety trainings needed to qualify for an apprenticeship opportunity with local construction unions. The student-centered training model also incorporates civic engagement and wellness activities (including yoga). With the challenge of COVID-19, the 2020 Upper Manhattan cohort structure was modified to host both virtual sessions, including OSHA 30 certification, and hands-on learning outdoors at Riverside Park.
P2A was co-founded by Lavon Chambers, Mason Tenders District Council retiree, with the help of WHDC. The program has earned a reputation for results due to its established network of peer mentors who provide graduates with résumé assistance, interview coaching, and aptitude test preparation. WHDC has remained a part of P2A ever since and is pleased to welcome additional collaborators like Columbia University Facilities and Operations and New York City Small Business Services (SBS).
WHDC looks forward to continue its support of this worthwhile program for the benefit of West Harlem residents. Interim Executive Director Zead Ramadan spoke of WHDC’s commitment to job creation and congratulated the graduates and WHDC partners who make this vital program a reality, “WHDC is proud to have been an original partner of the P2A. We are dedicated to continuing this outstanding program that helps transform the lives of its graduates and positively impacts the lives of West Harlem residents.”
P2A graduate, Jeanette Abbott addressed her peers during the ceremony. “Even though we all come from different walks of life, we’re all walking down the same path toward our destinies. I can’t wait to walk past you in your hard hats.”
Rob Sanchez was motivated to pursue P2A by his late younger brother. As with all of the graduates, you could hear the cheers and encouragement of his family and particularly his daughter, “I love you daddy!” Rob motivated his fellow graduates sharing, “Love who loves you, learn how to learn, and live while you’re alive.”