Commissioner O’Grady Talks Building Futures at White House Summit

Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady attended a White House Summit on July 13 and discussed the Building Futures Program and how it is a model program for best practices for America Rescue Plan Act funding.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the White House Summit on on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce

The half-day White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce featured remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, a session on state American Rescue Plan workforce investments and panels featuring mayors, county leaders, labor leaders and community leaders, who discussed their model ARP workforce programs.

Building Futures was recognized as a best practice and O’Grady was happy to tell other leaders all about the program, which is a partnership between the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Franklin County and the Columbus Urban League.

O’Grady participated in a panel called “Building a Diverse and Skilled Infrastructure Workforce.”

Overall, Franklin County will commit over $11 million in ARP funds to support job training assistance programs, including over $2 million for the Building Futures Program.

“I was incredibly honored to represent the residents of Franklin County at the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan to discuss what the county and our partners are doing with the dollars the Biden Administration has entrusted to us to help grow the economy and build back better,” said O’Grady.

“Building Futures continues to be a shining example of how to do just that and I’m proud to share it as a best community practice at every opportunity,” he added.

Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady outside the White House prior to the Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce.

The award-winning Building Futures is a 12-week program designed to help members of the underserved communities in Franklin County overcome career barriers and gain admission to a registered building trades apprenticeship program. This gives graduates the opportunity to be placed on a pathway to a middle-class life.

As apprentices and eventually as journeymen, they will receive good wages, great medical insurance and excellent retirement benefits through a career in the union construction industry.

During the class, Building Futures participants receive hard skills training, which includes safety certification and trade-specific instruction, and soft skills training, such as interpersonal skills and financial literacy. They also earn a weekly $250 stipend.

Program members are also eligible to receive wrap-around support to help address barriers like education, transportation, housing and childcare.

Thanks to Franklin County and the Building Futures Program partners, men and women can improve their lives and also help Central Ohio building trades unions become more diverse and inclusive in this booming construction economy.

With a plethora of massive construction projects in progress or on the horizon, Building Futures will be counted on to help grow the union’s building trades workforce and ensure the makeup of C/COBCTC affiliated unions represents the communities in which they work.

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