Community Works is a 6‐week, state-registered adult workforce training program offered in Springfield and Holyoke to prepare qualified applicants for an apprenticeship in the building and transportation industry — the pathway to a rewarding career. Through career readiness and occupational skills training, with classroom and hands‐on learning experiences, Community Works provides participants with the knowledge and skills needed to apply for and be accepted into a state‐registered apprenticeship program or transportation-industry employment. Participants also receive coordinated case management and placement services to help achieve their career goals.
The program originated as Springfield Works in 2010, then was rebranded in response to the expansion into Holyoke. The program focuses on low-income greater Springfield and Holyoke residents, particularly underserved populations in the construction and transportation trades: women, people of color, and veterans.
Community Works is a 26-agency partnership. Partners include:
- Joint building trades apprenticeship programs (JATCs), their contractors and affiliated unions
- Massachusetts AFL-CIO: largest federation of organized workers in the state
- MGM Resorts: bidder for the Springfield casino
- The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
- MassHire Holyoke and MassHire Springfield: award-winning One Stop Career Centers
- Holyoke and Springfield Mayors: strong supporters of this effort
- Springfield Technical Community College and Smith Vocational and Agricultural School
Community Works aims to:
- Provide low-income and low-skilled greater Springfield and Holyoke residents, particularly minorities, women, and disadvantaged young adults, access to family-sustaining careers in construction; and,
- Equip participants with industry-recognized certifications/credentials and prepare them to apply for, enter, and successfully complete a state-registered, building trades apprenticeship program; and,
- Create pathways among literacy providers, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs; and,
- Build economic vitality in Springfield and Holyoke.
The Community Works Model: Skills Training, Job Readiness, Employment
- Seamless Connections. Community Works constructs an educational ladder connecting adult basic education programs, worker education programs, pre-apprenticeship programs, apprenticeship programs, and employers — where none exists today.
- Skills, Competencies, and Knowledge for Relevant Employment. The Community Works pre-apprenticeship multi-craft training curriculum was designed in concert with industry experts to incorporate best practices from similar apprenticeship preparedness programs and to impart skills common for entry into all building trades apprenticeship programs. The six-week training includes sessions in workplace safety and health, construction math, construction tools, blueprint reading, labor history, the types and components of a construction project, green building construction, and workforce diversity. Employability and interpersonal skills training will allow participants to practice not only résumé writing and interviewing skills, but such essential skills as teamwork, workplace problem-solving, effective communication, as well as financial literacy and other life skills. Participants also receive at least three specific industry-recognized certifications.
- Modeled on the Workplace for Job Readiness. The training replicates an actual work experience to increase the likelihood of successful placement into apprenticeship and retention. The curriculum is delivered by experienced trades instructors as well as guest presenters who have expertise in their field and in participatory adult education techniques. In addition to classroom instruction, learners participate in hands-on experiences in a shop environment that mimic actual construction activities. They also visit apprenticeship training facilities where they witness apprenticeship training in action and handle the tools and materials of that trade. As part of the curriculum, participants also visit active construction sites. Classes run Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 3:30 p.m. to mirror a typical construction work day. Workplace norm policies are enforced with strict attendance and conduct policies. Support services are offered to address impediments to completion of training and transition to employment/apprenticeship.
- Apprenticeship/Career Placement/Certification. Our goal is to place graduates into apprenticeships in the building trades or into careers in the transportation industry (and sometimes both). The skills required for most trades take years to learn and are usually developed through the system of apprenticeships which combines classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training, under the supervision of an experienced journey-level tradesperson. Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship, participants receive the industry-accepted credential as a journey-level tradesperson. The sponsoring apprenticeship program pays the costs of apprenticeship training, and the “earn while you learn” feature of apprenticeship makes it affordable for all.
Check out our Community Works web site.