The District of Columbia Housing Authority joined the New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project to celebrate the trainees who recently graduated from its Construction Management Training Program.

The nine-week program featured classroom instruction, as well as onsite education, learning about nuclear gauge testing, concrete, soils and aggregate testing, and so much more that goes into bridge construction. Once they finish the initial course, participants can apply to other areas of the project for quality jobs. So far, six participants have found permanent employment.

“At DCHA, we build housing, family, communities—and now empower others to build bridges,” said Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “I’m so proud of these graduates of the Construction Management Training Program in association with the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project. They took advantage of this opportunity and now they have the on-the-job experience that makes them top applicants for new jobs where they can gain even more experience to qualify for even better jobs in the future.”

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Replacement Project will replace the 68-year-old bridge and reconstruct the Suitland Parkway and I-295 interchange. This project will increase pedestrian and vehicular safety, improve multimodal transportation options, increase community accessibility, and support economic development on both sides of the Anacostia River.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect coming in, but I knew it was a prime opportunity and for me to make the final cut to be accepted into the program was a privilege,” said Charles Jackson, a recent graduate. “I made a promise to myself to give the program my all and to make sure that I set an example to my classmates and instructors that I was dedicated.”

A collaboration between the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), HNTB, Justice and Sustainability Associates, and South Capitol Bridgebuilders, the Construction Management Training Program is a unique field service and classroom curriculum that provides accelerated instruction and opportunities to test for certifications in concrete, soils and aggregate compaction, as well as safety and flagging to minorities, women, and disadvantaged individuals interested in the highway construction industry. Participants receive classroom instruction, hands-on and onsite experience, mentoring, and the opportunity to shadow construction management professionals in the field.

“They always told me to act like you were in a workplace environment because you never knew who was watching,” said Isaiah Green, who was hired on a Management of Traffic team upon graduation.

Candidates were required to have a high school diploma, GED, or another test that proves they are proficient at a 10th grade level, good attendance in previous employment or training program, successfully completed a job readiness program, capable of getting to various locations in the area, and more.

Those participating received a stipend in two parts, one in the middle of the program after completing the ACI exam, a minimum qualification for the concrete construction industry, and the second after the student completes the Soils and Aggregate exam. In addition, participants received certifications in flagging, OSHA-10, and Nuclear Gauge Testing.

DCHA’s Frederick Douglas Community Center played a critical role in accommodating the class with classroom space, office equipment, and related materials. The center’s staff also assisted the students with resume writing, getting work clothing referrals, and work boots.

Delonte Spriggs, who graduated from the training program earlier, shared that prior to participating, he had trouble finding employment. He said he dedicated himself to the program, passed all of his certifications, and was grateful to be hired by one of the contractors on the site.

Another former apprenticeship participant, Lawrence Bradshaw, shared with the crowd that 10 years ago he was in the same position as the new graduates. He kept working towards his goals and is now a foreman.

“I put myself in the position so I can help other people who were in my position. All I ask for you guys to do is to put yourself in the position to help the next people,” he said.

Donzell Robinson and Connie Pulliam of Justice and Sustainability Associates presented the graduates with certificates and said that this program was built to ensure DDOT, JSA, HNTB, and the other contractors were supporting the growth of the local community.

“These guys definitely excelled. Hopefully it will pay off in the future,” said training member Gary Olson of HNTB, which part of the bridge construction management, to the audience. Then to the graduates, he said, “Don’t get complacent where you are. Always look to achieve.”

Once the participants pass their certification exams, they will have the opportunity to interview with one of the subcontractors on the project for full-time positions making up to $30 per hour with benefits.

The Construction Training Management program has ended, but Justice and Sustainability Associates and DCHA are planning another opportunity for interested candidates. For more information, please call Stephen Baker at the Frederick Douglas Community Center at (202) 321-2510 or Justice and Sustainability Associates at (202) 868-6340.


Last modified: 8/8/2019 12:39:40 PM