Job-training program cancels graduation as all students are working

Job-training program cancels graduation as all students are working

The highly popular Richmond BUILD career-training program had to cancel its graduation ceremony scheduled for Nov. 17 — and for good reason.

“This is the first time that we had to cancel the graduation because all students (21) received job offers and started working before their scheduled graduation,” said Sal Vaca, director of the City of Richmond’s Employment and Training Dept.

There have been previous cohorts with 100-precent job placements. But this is the first time all students started work prior to graduating, Vaca said.

“With the recent events in the North Bay, a booming construction sector and its direct entry agreements with the Carpenters, Laborers, and Plumbers & Steamfitters Unions, RichmondBuild recently achieved this goal,” according to a report in City Manager Bill Lindsay’s weekly newsletter.

RichmondBUILD preps local residents for high-paying jobs in the construction and renewable energy industries. It was created in 2007 as a way to battle poverty and violence with career opportunity.

“RichmondBUILD’s students overcame many hurdles and sacrificed a lot to complete the rigorous Academy,” Lindsay’s newsletter stated.

With help from funds from the Environmental Protection Agency, students received a 40-hour hazardous materials course (HAZWOPER 40) from LIUNA, Laborers International Union of North America.

Over the last 10 years, some of the largest players in industry throughout the Bay Area, including Chevron Richmond, have supported the program.

A brief list of industry employers hiring RichmondBUILD graduates include Russell Pacific and NET Electric, which are working on the Solar One Project, set to be the Bay Area’s largest publicly-owned solar farm at a 49-acre site provided by Chevron Richmond.

Employers also includes IQ Environmental, People Ready, Brand Scaffolding, Carpenters Local 152, Laborers Local 324, Steamfitters & Pipefitters 342, Cherne and Harder Mechanical, according to Vaca.