Building Futures celebrates latest class graduation

On May 13, a new group of future union building trades members graduated from the award-winning Building Futures program in Columbus.

The ceremony was held at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 Union Hall and kicked off with dinner so the graduates could eat with their friends, families and classmates before they graduated. 

Building Futures is a partnership between Franklin County and the Columbus-Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council. 

The award-winning 12-week program helps participants overcome career barriers and gain essential life skills such as financial literacy, mathematics and reading, followed by basic construction skills, giving them the necessary tools to start a successful career in the construction industry.  Building Futures graduation

The event recognized 19 graduates who will soon begin careers as registered building trades apprentices in the union construction industry.

Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dorsey Hager served as the event’s master of ceremonies. 

Building Futures graduates gain hands-on experience during their apprenticeship programs. Some will go on to work on one or more of the megaprojects around Central Ohio, such as Intel, Google, Amazon and Facebook. 

“If you show up every day on time, take construction without giving your superiors grief and have a positive attitude, you will be on your way to making a six-figure income, providing for yourself and your family,” Hager said.

Following Hager was keynote speaker Mike Knisley, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council. 

After Knisley’s speech, the participants received certificates of completion.

Eli Wenzel, Building Futures Program Director, then closed out the ceremony by reiterating the cohort’s accomplishments. 

“One of the primary lessons we try to instill in graduates is that persistence is essential to success,” Wenzel said. “Nobody who ever got where they wanted to be quit before getting there. This group of people have shown us that they understand the importance of this principle and have been a pleasure to work with.” 

Importance of word of mouth 

During the ceremony, Hager emphasized the importance of word of mouth and how talking about Building Futures to get more people involved. 

One of the graduates, Brennan Nicehelser, learned about the program from Darrell Gammell, a retired Local 189 Business Agent. 

After learning what the program could offer him, Nincehelser immediately signed up. 

After completing the Building Futures program, participants gain direct access to a registered apprenticeship program, paving the way for a promising career in the region’s thriving construction industry.

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