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Showing off their skills

From left: Ben Connors, president and CEO of General Building Contractors Association; Councilman Isaiah Thomas; Carpenters’ Apprentice Ready Program student Justin Drew; Bob Landy, director, Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Committee of Philadelphia and Vicinity; Bobby Yerkov, director of legislation for Councilman Brian O’Neill.

The General Building Contractors Association and the Carpenters Joint Apprentice Training Center teamed up on Saturday for a Martin Luther King day of service project.

The training center, 10401 Decatur Road, has a free 12-week pre-apprenticeship program, the Carpenters’ Apprentice Ready Program. CARP teaches the apprentices, mostly “non-legacy” women and minorities, the basics of carpentry, opening the door to a career with family-sustaining wages and benefits.

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On Saturday, about 30 CARP apprentices and their six instructors built 16 little book houses that will be installed across Philadelphia in the spring.

Clemens Construction Company donated materials to build the libraries, while Spike’s Trophies donated decorative plaques for each wood box.

Among those watching the work being done were seven members of City Council: Mark Squilla, Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, Derek Green, Isaiah Thomas, Kendra Brooks, Cindy Bass and Jamie Gauthier. Bobby Yerkov, director of legislation for Councilman Brian O’Neill, was also on hand.

The training center and the GBCA will hold book drives before the little libraries are installed, likely at parks and recreation centers.

Bob Landy is director of the Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Committee of Philadelphia and Vicinity. He’s a graduate and has spent 34 years in the industry. He’s a big fan of CARP, which offers breakfast, lunch and continuing education.

“This program is a great success,” Landy said. “Everyone from last year’s program has found employment. We get great support from the GBCA. This is the most gratifying job I’ve ever had.”

Ben Connors is president and CEO of the GBCA, which coordinates an annual day of service project and has more than 320 member companies. Connors said CARP training is valuable because it gives students who take the carpenters union test a better chance to pass, and he’s glad his association works with CARP.

“I love the program because it shows what a great partnership can do,” he said. “It helps people prepare for the test. The likelihood of passing is higher, and they get a leg up in getting a highly-sought-after job in the construction industry. To be a small part of that is exciting.” ••

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