HISTORY & FUNDING
The Providence Plan, YouthBuild Providence, and BuildRI joined forces in 2006 launching Building Futures to bring systemic change to the commercial construction industry in ways that will help the sector meet future needs, while creating meaningful employment opportunities for low-income adults from urban communities.
Building Future formed with three primary goals:
- To increase the number of minority residents from urban communities who work in construction;
- To assist the construction industry in meeting its future workforce needs while at the same time establishing new mechanisms to recruit minorities and other non-traditional workers to the industry; and
- To assist with the development of a new policy framework in which construction projects, public and private, would incorporate intentional strategies to increase the number of urban residents entering the industry as apprentices.
After a thoughtful planning and strategy phase, the Building Futures initiative was launched in mid-2007 with initial support from the United Way’s Skill Up initiative and Governor’s Workforce Board’s Industry Partnership program. The first year of operations showed considerable success.
A core accomplishment was the development and implementation of our model Apprenticeship Utilization Program with the City of Providence and private sector developers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Brown University. Through this mechanism, Building Futures created access to more entry-level opportunities, as well as leveraged the high quality training available for those employed as building trades’ apprentices.
In the first year, Building Futures also created, piloted and refined a multi-stage, pre-apprenticeship program which includes GED preparation, construction aptitude testing, building trades career exploration, employability skills training, and case management. More than 20 of the candidates who successfully completed our program were placed in registered apprenticeship programs during the pilot year.
In 2015 Building Futures received a $5 million US DOL American Apprenticeship Initiative to build the capacity of the state apprenticeship system and help employers launch apprenticeships outside the construction trades. Building Futures created Apprenticeship Rhode Island to lead this work. In 2016 Building Futures celebrated its 200 graduate and spun out of The Providence Plan to become an independent not for profit corporation.
Since our inception, our funding has become more diversified, representing an aligned funding model from a broad range of sources. To support the system change and direct program work of Building Futures, we now enjoy the generous support of:
- City of Providence
- Consortium America
- Individual Donors
- ONE Neighborhood Builders
- RI Dept. of Labor & Training: Real Jobs Rhode Island
- RI Dept. of Transportation
- USDA-SNAP Education & Training Program
- United Way of Rhode Island