Apprenticeship programs are preparing youth for real work

Newell Normand
Wednesday, May 16th

Uncommon Construction and the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association are allowing youth to gain real time experience in construction and the hospitality industries.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

You know just talking about juvenile crime 90% of the respondents say that they're concerned about the uptick in juvenile common worth thinking about you know two of the industries here locally. That has a very strong nexus to our economy and what drives our economy or the hospitality industry. And the construction industry. And for whatever reason. They face a stigma that these two. Industry sectors. Lack job of appeal interest in ever perception that there's a lack of upward mobility. So we're going to be we have two guests in the studio today. Erin Truman founder and executive director of on common construction building houses. Framing character. And Mavis early joins us on the launch is the executive director of the New Orleans hotel and lodging association. Erin welcome to the show thanks for having me I think we're still trying to get Mavis on line or she on. You are there are all right made us and welcome to the show as well so great thank you so much so. You know. I was a little shocked when we first reach out to one another to learn that you know that that's kind of a perception that Charl fight hard to overcome day in and day out. Yeah it's definitely there's a stigma surrounding. Non college pathways especially in the construction hospitality industries they're all kinds of stigma surrounding. The work that we do in construction in particular that it's. Dirty and dumb that a boy is only. Or disciplinary problems we'll have everything solved if we just give them hammer and shovel. And and or for the otherwise might not college bound. And it fails to recognize and honor the fact that there are four year to year industry certification. Non certification pathways. And into these industries for high wage high demand jobs and careers with upper mobility like you mentioned yeah I mean when you're thinking about plumbers. Electricians. And HV AC mechanical. I mean issue so many different. Disciplines within that overall industry whether you're going to be a crane operator or bulldozer operator I mean. Those guys made that and ladies they make decent money they may you know and they can make great money. Now a lot of the jobs that we've traditionally held in high prestige are becoming automated in this generation and if it's the middle of the night your toilets are back in that you're gonna pay whatever cost to get your plumber over there in the challenge then there doing Nags Head in one of the biggest challenges is. That we don't know who to call anymore because were aging out of this industry as well and we're not selling and are pitching it to young people in a way that's exciting and that makes them. See themselves as part of the solution some pars that part of the future of developing maintaining managing. Our infrastructure. In this country and Mavis you guys are seeing the same thing in the hospitality industry and well. Yes we are it's most unfortunate because our industry is one of the industries where you can't I really fast tracked. I'll forward advancement and your career pathway can move forward carry quickly and not everybody has associate degree or college degree there's a job for everybody and starting ultra. I don't I worked in both industries as a young. Man that was a waiter at mass on rush currently fruit and that was probably the job that I had the most on at. Ever. And then I had added a job in the construction industry where I put in air condition systems and built plan comes out of fiber board. In that might have been one of the most least four inch capacity and let's get if I thought dramatic New Orleans that they don't. How I was a skinny little run out they go lost about ten pounds a day to you can they had they would get rid it was a waterway right here. But but in I did have you know I have to say honestly I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things in boat to one you know waiting about people. And in construction about all of the pieces and parts that go into constructing a building. Traditionally these two industries have trained our workforce. Righty think back to most people are many people's first jobs. Say it was just like what you described in I had a similar experience started. Restaurants hospitality came into construction hasn't got a little bit older. Ends. Date what are you stay in these industries are not high. They become very very formative in the way that we approach all of our future opportunities as well the lessons that we learned. In a hot attic in the summertime or underneath a house digging out for like a sewer drain or something like that. That's gonna stay with you on the courtesies that you learn in a restaurant news and talk about like. That that stays with you in all of your future professions. You know I was with I was with the front of money of the day who was uses CEO of a major corporation. And he was telling me of his circle of friends all CEOs. They all came out of the hospitality industry they were all waiters. At one point in time whether they took a hiatus from college or. Right out of high school or even through college and through graduate school they all waited tables and it was funny they were sitting at generally talking about it and it is. They didn't realize it's so. What are you guys doing to overcome. This stigma and work through this process. And in moving forward. Well what we are doing it'll. We have a week or sometime ago. The armed guerrilla hotel lodging association hospitality education foundation. And we're committed to workforce development treaty future hospitality leaders operate fast track ripped half. And that everyone can be successful and prosperous. What we do is read. Work to establish. Hospitality tourism management program in high school. We have a host current. Hospitality employees who are willing at any moment and time to go speak to clap and we go to high school orientation. With the incoming freshmen. Always bring up panel weapons to discuss what opportunities are in our industry and how much education eaters don't eat really. Experiences the most valuable. Most valued they had our industry. You can start with Alec even high school education and if you work hard if your committed and you want to move forward. You can move forward and you get to try out different areas. Is. Perth at the hotel and lodging industry where there are what you are numerous types of jobs. So let's say that they would start as a bartender and let me say this do. A lot of well a lot yup do. And then you know they get hooked and they really like being with people they like the people. They work with because the hospitality industry is hospitable I mean you you're surrounded by people who smile a lot at just the way it works. You know there there's such a host of position that people do not. Even realize unfortunately parents a lot of parents and students are barrier sometimes to. She didn't want to go into a career and hospitality because that what he want to do that I can take you to go to college do get that the you know. At that. You know that the debt is not going to be changing and then you know doing menial tasks. Well that's not true immediate program to issue yet to start programs to Asia but you can perceive to be. A supervisor in the short time and manager. Director of how keeping if you're willing to work for it and learn in an industry. The way you get to that Terry top. It is to work in each sector. Hotel and lodging industry. And I know that ninety. 5% and general managers started at a entry level positions. On many of them you know working summer job. That you can get. So many things there's food and averaged there's human resource is there sales and marketing. Com group planning on meeting services. Information technology accounting and financial management and it goes on and on and so it's Psycho a microcosm. Of our city bit about what jobs are at city you want to hand those jobs and market. It was staying in both industries. Cottage companies. And fortune 500 companies. So even within the industries you can decide whether or not you wanted to be with the family owned small. You know company. Grind in and out there are grinding it out in a major corporation fortune 500 corporation it's represented in most of the states throughout the country I mean you have any number of passage you can take right yeah always. Ryan is that you because we've kind of singularly focused on college pathways exclusively. To the detriment of other it's just trades or. You know service and construction and other we're not the only industry where that's the case in the nature of work is changing it. And so. You know what's we have this lack of awareness and exposure. As a result because we're owning putting kids sometimes in front of a certain kind of career or certain direction to follow in their pathway. Or were elevating some has more prestigious than others. Fur for whatever the reason like high value for Steve Jobs were kind of you know not thinking. Necessarily as honestly about what those things might be for you in what might be. Best for them because we're have a bias and what we expose them to capsule and if you don't know the name of the company. Can apply for the job that accompany you can't look at their website to see if they're hiring he never met someone who's. I started as a lever ever met somebody started as labor Renault and billionaire rats owns project engineer manager. Then you can't see yourself following their path. Either and let me just give a little bit on trying. Mort really more like experiential learning getting young kids the bit in the opportunity to come in and engage in the construction industry to see it from the bottom up. And so uncommon construction is really unique in our field and there's a handful of organizations that. You know here and elsewhere that you know look and sound like what we do. Our program is different in that I'm comments the general contractors so we're we have complete site control over the experience that are princes. And that's true further nails they get drilled driven on the build site as well as the architectural designs and the open houses that happened at the beginning and end of that process. So what's really cool about it. In addition as we retain control over. The the culture that we have on site our jobs it's have a lot of Orange on them. Reinforcing messages and themes. And team unity cultural artifacts that bind us together and give us the shared learning experience. The tasks that our practices are signs that they're not just digging ditches every Saturday on our build site are high school students. Are positioned as leaders of adult volunteers. Who take it day out of their lives come and work with our kids on the outside of these volunteers are just anybody. There college students educators industry professionals employers donors sponsors you name it. They bring some kind of mentor ring connection or value to that shared experience. And then. We also retained control over the revenue that's a product of our press is working as a result this is more than just a volunteer experience. Like a nice to have every now and then as part of a club at school. This is a job they get paid above minimum wage they also earn bonuses and promotions and come back from multiple semesters. So there is we're building on prior knowledge each semester and each Saturday that they come back. They also earn course credit at school. If they meet our requirement as an intern ship. And construction in particular being a high wage high demand industry or we've identified a really high need and all that goes through all these other pathways. But what's really neat about what we do is that all the revenue from each project whether we're the owner selling it for a fair market rate. Or. Someone hires us as a contractor to perform work on their senator to build a house. Of our design on their vacant lot. All the revenue that uncommon construction makes goes back into funding that program and creating this experience with our premises. And we match their paychecks fifty cents on the dollar but what we call an equity awards scholarship. And they can use that for further education industry certifications of the tools they need for a full time job they own that money. We think of equity in two ways it's kind of our most central value. And we think of that in terms of they're earned equity or ownership by the hours they put into the project as well as the more equitable pathway. From education to employment wherever that may pat that pathway in the take. You know it if you think of the maxim that education is about formation matches information. These experiential. Learning models. Are huge. And they can make all the difference in the world because some kids are great in the classroom. And some are not. But yet the ones that typically aren't you put them out in this kind of environment in this type of program in both hospitality industry in Europe in the construction industry. And they flourish like they've never flourished. More and embedded in that you have kids who. Are gifted and talented but they're just not demonstrating it within the constraints and confines of their classrooms. And so we need to be able to put. Math tree economic tree engineering. Arts humanities science there are so many of those skills in one day on a construction site. And opportunities to connect fractions. From a tape measure to your math class. If you just give them a chance all the data around shop class and career technical education is in new. An uncommon we just kind of put it on steroids in the best way we know how kids you are involved in career technical education. Are less likely to drop out. There are more likely to do better in their other classes that perform better in their other classes. And they're more likely to continue their education in some way after they graduate because they have an idea of why education matters and why that's relevant. And you know what. I can tell that both you Mavis and then you are you all haven't fund tunis and and and that's important too and when you bring that amount of energy to this project and let's go to radar radar with so you don't pay higher you plug in that show. It seemed pretty West Bank too I'm not yours in from New York. That if you can tell you shoot counterfeit you can find a job your news. There are on any anybody else riddler. I guess is Mary Hartman day. They're by young people are just what shall enter your state program that Ali got to do. You know it it it is typical let's talk about that thanks radar yes one of the things that we do an uncommon as we try and make it something that your excited to Charlotte. Regardless of whether you don't construction and doom and ever so. Trying to create this environment where you know the paycheck or the school credit doesn't immediately get you in the door and excited about it. Then you know dead the opportunity to meet new people are mean employers like her friends from gives construction come out and volunteer. And sponsor us right and and to be able to put it in context is gonna help. On those young people demonstrate. That they want to be involved and that they want to show up because they really do. Oftentimes they lack is the opportunity to demonstrate that. Easy to be put in front of the people for whom that matters to be able showing off and you'll put in situations where the adults trust them enough to. Take on a real role. In in an authentic real world environments where it really feels. Say when you think about it think the the company. Has a vested interest because it's kind of it they get the benefit of an independent incubator program that you know that they get the public. It's like almost an audition yeah yeah exactly as imam medicine that they yell out molecular and an audition where they get to see them. Doing it and get to see if they're excited about it and if they care about it in the you know. Yet totally so what we one of our hunches rate is that when we invite the construction industry to come volunteer. With us on our belts and we need their hands meaning their skills but we also. Need opportunities to put our kids in front and show them what our kids are doing not just on that Saturday coming. And come and see the way that they're learning. And the way that they're engaged now with. Don't be fully we're not graduating journeyman carpenter spray. We're we're graduating. Young people who are curious who take initiative know how and when asked the question and more importantly you're graduating opportunity exactly right. You know right yeah Mavis. Yes well we have a partnership we developed a curriculum and ask him a partnership with Delgado. Community college and we have eight week workforce development training that is about 60% in the classroom. Taught by. Hotel and lodging professionals. And then we have about 50% of program is actually on site. At a hotel which includes you don't buy a house back in how tour a number of people from different department. Speaking to you about what's available in the department and how it works and also we have break up disputed. In groups of three to go to different hotel for three days to do your job chat and we and then we have a graduation port down. And then we have a job placement of our jobs there just poured down. Don't graduate of that particular program. Where the hoteliers the human resource director comes in an interview to students and we are having great except what that. With those people finding jobs. And it is a Yost programs there are in and chipped it down to stay in the program financial incentives to attempt to stay in the program. Throughout the eight weeks. And then we will enter again after that. And we want to have to tease successful. Let me ask both the all this question may have issued your touch and on and a little bit one of art one of the members of our audience text that in and said do you see any adverse impact to that. Tech careers from the refocus of the old vote tech schools to the community college model. And whether or not that kind of transition and maybe the lack of a better term picked up. Really cause some issues where he yells to industries. I don't think that has caused an issue for us. I think that the that we had been designated by the state as quantity of the top five career. Career pathways to pursue. And so we have been working with back into technology is and that helped care is and that. So I I don't I don't find and it has adversely affect that I think it's opened more opportunities. I'm for us to actually form a coalition with all of those. Entities are all of those industries so that we can all work together in fact that and telemarketing industry you have tech jobs. You have my county jobs do you care sales job GM marketing Q that I'll. Group meetings that. But no wedding planning and food and beverage of course and human resources and on. So no I don't find it has been. Eric affected us adversely. Yeah I think there's there is. You know that this whole new industry and technology like open race. Veers technology in construction management as well. A lot of that there's software there's equipment or machinery is advancement passions all kinds that's so take that aside. And think about what jobs currently exist in our communities. Verses. Whether we're trying to import. You know Amazon jobs or something like that they didn't previously exist here. New Orleans has a huge need the biggest challenge facing our state is coastal restoration and protection. We lose like a football field of our coastline every hour. The biggest jobs need in responding to that challenge is carpentry and construction it's not necessarily. Renewable energy. In for our region. What we need are people who can more immediately elevate houses and build water systems and design new levees and do those kinds of things that are gonna help us live here now because the problem is right on arc straight and so a lot of times we lose the forest and trees in that conversation around like. Construction being analogue. You know for luddites and stuff it's it's everywhere if you go to some of those fortune 500 large large companies. There are really really high tech systems that are backing all that. What we need are for you know people to plug those in and find you know. There's a lot of manual stuff that goes into that and those things exist in our industry like I said this infrastructure. Has been here and hopefully will be continued will continue to be here we can only maintain it. Aaron was just tell me when we played the bumper music we built this city they'll play that every morning when the student show that's our anthem yeah that's like we're looking for a tableau in response of that's on every. Perhaps a little bit. And do whatever it takes ram back. There improvement founder and executive director of uncommon construction of this early from the executive director Greg Reynolds hotel and lodging association. And I think may this year your group is called the hospitality. Education foundation correct correct is that correct. Is the mother ship for what you all do and then. You can read more about uncommon construction that uncommon construction dot org. If you if you care to their 501 C three organization as well. And those are the parents. This. Project that their deal and what are the things that I that struck me is that in both of these industries. When we talk about opportunity. And an asset that earlier and I meant that you graduate opportunity they're huge labor shore shortages in both of these industries correct. Well well well well I don't get labor shortage I think there's. Maybe trained labor shortage there's a lot of lot of people out there who do not have jobs and feed job. And I don't a lot of people get did they don't know which outlook. What they don't see the possibility of a goalie and construction. Or two going into hospitality industry. It's like you know that they asked the indigenous to cut a law and the union just need to step into it and I think it's part of our job to empower. Those who are unemployed and add support and it seeing a possibility is seen at career cap quake and what they candidate I just don't think a get a lot of in many cases a lot of inspiration about what. What acts of what an individual can do you know what's available out there. We haven't buried very high demand and a hotel and lodging and hospitality industry. The industry will train you. You know he argued that job and individual doesn't have a job is to show a lot. Want to work. Work hard. Make it now that you want but grass make it now that you would like to have a career and malady and that OK on the net job they're not doing it now but not act like to look into. You know I county Ali had a paperback. Crowd work and that department for a while that happens all the time. And hotels you can do about it you can go to step in different fields you can do more giddy. Or meeting ID or whatever try it out and see what it's best. Are you. You can progressed. Each other to show up and work hard. You know under tax lines has no log your topic thank god for Solomon enlightened educators who you know and and and and and that's look I get that feeling talking with with both you guys than me and I I just think it's it's it's a fabulous opportunity. For these kids and I had a jobs expert all on the other day. And he said never under estimate the value of networking. In any opportunity. That you exploit as you don't know where it will take Q. Ending college. You know they don't teach you about net. Work yeah are at least not like it's kind of on you as the student to try like find those of either joining fraternities or clubs are things social things like that. I don't comment we were really trying to position our organization. Just as an intersection. It's a week to week train create opportunities. For that networking happened so you know our prices are on site industry shows up. They just don't mean each other replenished or breaker it's known each other we have opportunities a follow up. There's all kinds of other ways where our staff can facilitate. But also like get out of the way whether that's in the design session architects. Or. You know just by putting your ladder next to somebody on the don't side. Will meet thank both you for coming on today and share in this and I think it was a great topic and I I'm excited for you for you guys in and I'm excited for the successes such all of that so far and under the successes that you're gonna have in the future and and folks the listening audience I hope you check out their web sites. Maybe issued a final thought. Yes I did did wanna say that part of what the foundation does not so it every year we get up. We get out chewed scholarships. Too high school students up to 8000 dollars each about the Dallas is the master. And that's it for a hospitality program at Delgado or a four year program that you went. Out at the met yet it's WWW. Out GNOHOLA. Dot com. CN OO HLA. Dot com and look at foundation we just. We have application that right now we can't finalist it will be going through. Interview process with ensued and awarding scholarships. All are running a typo in the aisle we gotta get to a break errand Truman founder and executive director of uncommon construction sounds very exciting and Mavis early executive director greater new loans hotel and lodging association. The hospitality. Education foundation thank both of young great programs and and hope you success is to vote ago.