It was a June evening when three individuals closed one chapter in their lives and started the next. Calvin Turner, Ali Sparrow and Isaac Livingston-El, three of the eight graduates from the 11th Street Bridge Project Construction Management Program, all started their journey at DCHA’s Southwest Family Enhancement Career Center (SWFECC).
The 11th Street Bridge Construction Management Program is a unique field service and classroom instructional curriculum for minorities, women and disadvantaged individuals interested in highway construction industry. It provides accelerated instruction and the opportunity to test for certifications in concrete and soils and aggregate compaction. The program, which is sponsored by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) On-the-Job Training Supportive Services (OJT/SS) Program, HNTB and Skanska Facchina Joint Venture (JV), is the result of the successful collaboration between business and DDOT designed to build a better D.C. The program equips jobseekers with new skills that are in demand, creating employment and strengthening the community.
Calvin Turner, a former Syphax Gardens resident, enrolled in the Section 3 Program and began participating in the job club November 2010. Ali Sparrow, a Former Greenleaf Gardens resident, enrolled in the Section 3 Program and began participating in the Job Club August, 2011. Isaac E. Livingston-El enrolled in the Section 3 Program and the Job Club October 2012.
All three men were referred to the 11th Street Bridge Construction Training Program on April 22, 2013, as Bridge Carpenter Assistants. Then, all three men were were hired by Skanska Facchina JV. The news of their hiring was made at the June 24, 2013, graduation ceremony, and was a surprise to the participants.
The graduates also received inspirational words from Malachi Yisrael, a DC resident and a graduate of the pilot class for the training program, who also got his start at the SWFEC. Yisrael, told the graduates, “It feels good to go on a job and have people respect you, because you’re qualified to be there.”
The staff at the SWFECC were proud of their Section 3 Program graduates for excelling in the management training program, and the new Skanska Facchina JV employees expressed their appreciation for the support they received at the center.
This graduation was significant because it certified the program as successful, which means it will continue. This was the first session after the original pilot session. The program has done so well that they are currently taking applications and interviewing for their second official session; DCHA has once again submitted candidates for consideration.
The Section 3 Program helps foster local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency by providing job training, employment, and contracting opportunities for low- or very low income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods.
The staff at the SWFECC works with the DCHA Office of Resident Services Workforce Development team to link DCHA residents with Section 3 and other employment opportunities. Additionally, staff assist residents in job readiness training, professional development, resume preparation, employment counseling, job retention and facilitating referrals for supportive services. The SWFECC also partners with local organizations to provide job training for DCHA residents. Some of these organizations include the United Planning Organization, Goodwill Industries, Wider Opportunities for Women, the University of the District of Columbia Community College and the District Department of Transportation Business Opportunity and Workforce Development Center.