WESTFIELD – Community Works, a free pre-apprenticeship program that prepares men and women for a career in the construction and transportation industries, is hosting a seven-week online and onsite training beginning this month.
Community Works is registered with the State of Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards, the Massachusetts Eligible Training Provider list (ETPL), and has Section 30 approval as a Training Opportunity Program with the Department of Unemployment Assistance. Community Works is funded by a grant from MassDOT.
The seven-week class, which begins March 23 and ends in May, will offer online and onsite training, some of it at Habitat for Humanity construction sites in Springfield. Classes are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. Onsite training will be held on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are 16 slots available for the class, and registration closes March 8.
Lead instructor Greg Garfield said the course is open to anyone who might be interested in career change. “The people who have been actually working through the coronavirus are the tradespeople, and there’s such a demand,” Garfield said.
All applicants to Community Works must first attend a brief information session to understand the program and receive an application. Applicants must: be 18 years or older, have a high school degree or equivalent, be authorized to work in the U.S., pass a drug test, pass a physical testing consisting of a ladder climb and other tasks, pass a basic test for math and reading, and have a driver’s license and a registered working vehicle.
Garfield said students will receive their OSHA 10 certification, which is safety related. They will also do some construction math testing, which he said is needed in any of the trades to be successful. He also does some blueprint reading with students. Speakers from different fields also give an overview of their trades to students.
“I’m also emphasizing soft skills; show up early, show up every day, work hard, get along with people. If you can do that, you can be successful in just about anything,” Garfield said.
Students that finish the course get their OSHA 10 card, First Aid AED/CPR, and Flagger Certification, along with some hand tools to help get them started in their chosen trade, Garfield said. He said they’ve had graduating students go into carpenters unions, laborers unions, and go to work for contractors on the turnpike and a lot of different construction companies.
To learn more and to register for an informational session, go to https://communityworks.umasscreate.net or call 584-1472.