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|BART Awards Grant for Workforce Development Apprentice Program|
Local workers make up the bulk of employees building the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s (BART) Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), and—thanks to a newly awarded BART grant—some of those workers will come from an apprentice program aimed at training young Oakland men and women looking to learn a trade.
The agency presented the grant of almost $34,000 to the Oakland-based Cypress Mandela Training Center to employ a young and diverse workforce made up of the city’s residents.
“Most faces behind the columns and infrastructure being built right now along Hegenberger Road are from Oakland or one of the surrounding communities,” said BART Board Member Robert Raburn, whose district includes Oakland. “This apprentice program isn’t just about hiring local, it’s about training our future workforce and following through on our commitment to the community.”
To date, the OAC project has met or exceeded nearly all local hiring goals. The project contract calls for 50 percent of the hours to be worked by “local residents” (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties) and 25 percent from residents of Oakland. As of Jan. 31, 984 people have worked more than 339,426 hours building the connector; 69 percent of those hours were worked by local residents and 26 percent by Oakland residents.
“The BART grant will help the Cypress Mandela Training Center fulfill its mission to connect the community with local projects,” said Art Shanks, director of the training center. “We will collaborate with community partners to identify potential clients who want to join the workforce and those already in the unions who need assistance reinstituting themselves for future, skilled jobs.”
The grant is a product of a Project Stabilization Agreement negotiated when BART awarded the contract for the OAC project. The agency’s partners include the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and OAC contractor Flatiron Construction & Parsons Transportation Joint Venture.
The agreement required that the contractor fund an account to support local workforce development, placement, and retention.
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