A new carpenter training center in the Hudson Valley is promising to bring more local residents to the trade.
It’s not every day you see a woman sawing her way through a stack of wood. But Carolyn Riccardi is cutting through stereotypes to making a career out of carpentry.
What You Need To Know
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the carpentry industry is experiencing slower growth than normal
- The Institute for Women’s Policy Research says in 2020, more than 300,000 women worked in construction nationwide
- A new training center in Rock Tavern cost $3 million to build
She just graduated alongside six other women from the Sisters in the Brotherhood Pre-Apprenticeship program, organized by the Carpenters Local 279 at the new North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Center in Rock Tavern.
"[I] always wanted to be in an environment where people were looking out for each other, where there was a long-term vision of success, and we could all come together in that," said Riccardi.
Riccardi lives in New Paltz and has worked in carpentry for the past few years. She‘s always wanted to join the Carpenters Local 279 union to improve her skills, so she jumped on the opportunity to join the Sisters in the Brotherhood Program.
"The opportunity to work alongside other women and to see those women growing their career has been one of the best parts about the pre-apprenticeship program," said Riccardi.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in 2020, more than 300,000 women worked in construction, more than ever before. But women are still largely under-represented in the field, making up only 4% of all construction jobs nationwide.
Nicole Grodner runs the Sisters in the Brotherhood program in New York and hopes the program will help more women consider a future in the industry.
"A lot of women really come to us without any prior experience," Grodner said. "They go through the four weeks, they graduate, they become apprentices and go through our apprentice training and they become carpenters."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the carpentry industry is experiencing slower growth than normal and is only expected to grow 2% from 2020 to 2030. That’s slower than the national average for other professions.
The North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund hopes with the opening of the new $3 million training center, more Hudson Valley residents will change those stats.
The need for carpenters also comes at an opportune time. With the government passing a landmark infrastructure bill, funding is on its way to the states and experts expect a spike in demand for workers with these skills.
"With more roadwork, with more interior work, with more building work, with more infrastructure work, we need good folks to join our carpenters union," said James Hayes, the NASCTF assistant executive training director.
Riccardi says she is excited to get to work and to begin her apprenticeship program and one day become an instructor herself so she can inspire other women and men to join the field.
"We women don’t need to have be sequestered in certain jobs, and these jobs are really invaluable; you take these skills home with you and you take them into the world," said Riccardi.