Construction work is one of the few careers left in the United States where a person can make a good living without a college degree. However, it’s also one of the few fields available to high school graduates with a work force that’s still predominantly white and male. So what will it take for women and people of color to get a bigger piece of the pie, and to land the construction jobs that provide the best wages, benefits, and safety standards – union jobs—and benefit from Massachusetts’ building boom?
In this episode you’ll meet Tara Williams, who brought herself and her children out of poverty through determination, and a brand-new career in the building trades. You’ll learn about the training program where Tara got her start, and the first-in-the-nation green energy project that’s bringing new union construction jobs to the South Coast. Also covered is the shadow side of the construction economy – the exploitation of undocumented workers – and efforts to bring their employers to justice.
South Coast Working is a project of the UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center. Learn more at umass.edu/labored.
For more information about starting a career in the building trades in Massachusetts, visit buildalifema.org. To learn more about the story behind Vineyard Wind, check out the series Windfall from the podcast Outside/In, at windfallpodcast.org.
Voices heard in this episode:
Tara Williams, Apprentice, Laborers’ International Union of North America (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jim Pimental, Vice President/Organizer, Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen
Yvonne Tobey, Program Manager, Building Pathways South
Kim Wilson, Director, UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center
Dave Araujo, President, Southeastern MA Building Trades Council
Ernesto Belo, Organizer, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
Derek Adamiec, Business Representative, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
Recording of Jose Soler courtesy of New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Contributors to this episode:
Host/Producer: Andrea Muraskin, independent podcast producer
Executive Producer: Kim Wilson, Director, UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center
Production Assistant: Rachel Dufresne, Artist in Residence with the UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education, and a UMass Dartmouth undergraduate
Liz Skidmore, Laura Orleans, Avory Brookins, Camilo Viveiros, and Jim Snow.--- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/south-coast-working/message
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