For over 35 years, Asian Neighborhood Design’s (AND) Employment Training Center (ETC) has successfully trained at-risk, low-income youth and young adults in the green construction field to gain vital life and employment skills and achieve self-sufficiency. Each year, up to 60 graduates gain comprehensive skills in construction and carpentry, and receive basic education on topics such as history and mathematics, as well as high school equivalency or GED preparation. Our program also works to diversify the field of construction by including women and serves 90% people of color. Through ETC, graduates obtain critical life skills (e.g., money management, communications and conflict resolution), build self-esteem and confidence, and develop real pathways out of poverty.
ETC operates 3 complete classes each year. The duration of the program is 14 weeks with 35 hours of weekly training. Mornings are designated for vocational training while afternoons are reserved for life skills development and GED classes for students who have passed their probationary period. Our participants go through an intensive curriculum as follows:
- Prior to acceptance: orientation, assessment tests, and life skills evaluations
- Week 1: life skills training with financial literacy and management, anger management and alcohol/substance abuse awareness and prevention
- Week 2: introduction to fundamentals of green building practices, carpentry and construction; begin remedial math and English classes; end of probationary period
- Week 3: worker safety with green principles; tool identification and skills development
- Week 4: introduction to power tools with hands-on hard skills instruction and exercises in tool usage
- Week 5: introduction to blueprints, drafting, codes, green design and construction system; history of building/construction
- Weeks 6-14: exposure to general carpentry and construction fields such as cement masonry, framing, drywall installation, siding, stairs, painting, ironwork; build mock-ups (e.g., full size walls and roofs). Our program partners with the San Francisco Department of Environment for guest speakers,workshops, and demonstrations in energy conservation and sealing the building envelope techniques (Title 24 Energy Requirements).
- Weeks 7-14: job-site training through construction projects for nonprofit community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts; resume and interview skills development
- Weeks 9-14: training in openings, finishes, cabinetry, plumbing, heating, electrical and solar energy; bid preparation (calculating material costs and needs) and energy audits
- Week 14: final testing for GED; workshops on hiring politics, training and role-playing to deal with on-the-job challenges (racism, stress); resume building, dress for success, and mock interview skills development; orientation to unions and potential employers in the industry; graduation ceremony and celebration
- Post graduation: job referral and retention aid for up to 2 years after program completion.
A Comprehensive Training Approach
Life skills training: After the first two weeks of full-time life skills training, hands-on training takes place Monday through Friday mornings. Afternoons are reserved for additional life skills development, with a strong emphasis on team work, self-esteem building, and GED preparation.
One-on-one support: In order to ensure our students complete the program and are able to attain lasting self-sufficiency, each person meets weekly with our in-house case manager for personalized support, counseling, and referrals to supportive services, such as childcare, housing options and food programs. One-on-one tutoring is available in math and English for those studying for their GEDs or high school equivalency.
Academic support: The academic preparatory classes are incorporated into our afternoon curriculum, with instruction provided by the Five Keys Charter School, a comprehensive high school for adults inside the San Francisco County jail under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction. Our partnership with Five Keys furthers AND’s mission of providing those with limited to no options to advance themselves with a chance for meaningful employment at a competitive wage.
Students develop environmental literacy and knowledge of building performance, solar PV installation, energy conservation, weatherization, construction re-use and re-purpose, as well as deconstruction. Our green curriculum includes leading green workforce advocate Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes' nationally certified Roots of Success environmental literacy coursework emphasizing solar, weatherization, recycling and energy-efficiency.
For more information about our Employment Training Center, contact:
Jennifer Costa, Program Manager