Hudson Valley Students Learn About Trade Skills, Careers at 24th Annual Construction Career Day

SUFFERN, NY—High school students from across the Hudson Valley met with building trade experts to participate in skills-building activities and learn about union careers at the 24th Annual Hudson Valley Construction Career Day scheduled on Fri., April 12. More than 700 students filled the Rockland Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern to explore diverse careers in the construction and the building trades, and to learn about the financial and educational advantages of apprenticeship training. Representatives from the unions and private-sector companies engaged the students in demonstrations such as welding, carpentry and soldering.

Hosted by the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. (CIC) and the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson, Inc. (BCA), Construction Career Day, began at 8:30 am, andwas designed to reinvigorate the industry’s labor force with young talent. The event marked the organizations’ 24th year of supporting the workforce of tomorrow.

“The demand for skilled labor is increasing, and we’re seeing infrastructure investments at the state and federal levels, so there is clearly a need for these critical skills,” said Matthew Pepe, executive director of the BCA. “Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to learn and earn as they prepare for goodpaying jobs right in their communities. We’re proud to be a part of this important effort to enhance our workforce, invest in our communities and strengthen our overall economy.”

Registered apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades provide participants with a high-quality and nationally recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency in the construction industry. Programs follow a “learn-while-you-earn” model, as participants earn wages that are graduated upward as the apprentice accumulates greater skills and experience on the job.

Welding always attracts attention. Ironworkers L.U. 417 and 580 were among the 17 trade locals attending the apprenticeship career exposition.
Photo Credits/ED CODY

‘Blue Collar to New Collar’

Mary Jane Bertram, Hudson Valley regional director for the Workforce Development Institute, often talks about the importance of investing in technical training and new technology skills, and going from “blue collar to new collar.”

“Providing our youth with a variety of options to good-paying, family sustaining wages is an important mission and one that we are happy to assist with,” Ms. Bertram explained. “These are careers that are local careers that provide a way for people to raise a family, buy a house and to retire—it’s a beautiful thing to have those benefits that continue for a lifetime.”

Building Trades Union Locals At Construction Career Day

  • Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Electrical Workers IBEW Local 3
  • Electrical Workers IBEW Local 363
  • Heat & Frost Insulation Local 91 Ironworkers Local 417
  • Ironworkers Local 580 Laborers Local 60
  • Laborers Local 754
  • North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 279
  • NYS Laborers LECET
  • Operating Engineers Local 137
  • Operating Engineers Local 825
  • Painters DC9-FTI of NY
  • Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 21
  • Roofers Local 8 Sheet Metal Workers Local 38
  • Teamsters Local 456

More than a dozen local, state and federal representatives attended the event and talked about the importance of the building trades as a career option for students who aren’t necessarily college-bound.

One perennial guest of the career expos hosted by the CIC, the BCA and the Union Trades is Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “This is about the American Dream. I’ve been coming here as a county legislator and as the county executive for 18 years,” Mr. Day said at last year’s event. “What I feel most satisfied about, going back all those years, is that I know a number of these young people who now have good-paying jobs, are raising families and have their own homes. This is a path to move forward and have a good life.”

Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, who attended last year’s program, commented that there are so many different opportunities for young people to pursue in New York, in Putnam County and the Hudson Valley. “Those opportunities aren’t just about higher education, but through apprenticeship programs and through our friends in the labor community. Students have an opportunity to not only learn from groups like this, but to work with them and stay in New York, stay in the Hudson Valley,” he explained.

For information about apprenticeship programs, visit For information about CIC and BCA, visit

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