Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association recognizes program that helps youth find careers in the trades
The Construct program by Blue Door seems to be accomplishing its goal of helping youth build careers in the trades.
Not long after celebrating its first year since inception, Construct was presented with the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) 2021 Innovation Award during a virtual conference held on Nov. 10 to 12.
This social enterprise by Blue Door provides professional, competitively priced, high-quality residential and commercial construction and property services, as well as in-class training, on-the-job work experience, and wraparound supports to help vulnerable individuals from York Region areas secure long-term, well-paying careers in the construction trades.
Construct sources and bids on jobs within the GTA, and turns job sites into on-the-job learning experiences, helping trainees build careers in the trades.
This year marks the one-year anniversary of the program. It has helped more than 50 trainees graduate and 57 find jobs within the community.
According to Blue Door, 85 per cent of graduates have been connected to full-time employment only six weeks after graduation.
One graduate of the Construct program, operating with the goal to prevent homelessness through training for sustainable careers, made this testimony: “I didn’t know anything about construction when I started, and now I am in the union and working full-time.”
Construct also works to fill a gap for skilled workers in the local construction sector. One of the customers was a York Region resident, Leslie, who said she had a “truly positive” experience with Construct when they worked on her mini bathroom renovation. “Experienced and highly skilled leaders attend the job site with trainees, youth who are eager to learn and start their trades careers,” Leslie said.
“(Construct) responded quickly to my inquiry and were professional, polite, and provided a competitive quote. Thanks to the amazing Construct crew and the wonderful people who started this initiative,” Leslie said.
Blue Door was “thrilled and humbled to receive” the ONPHA award.
“Celebrating our first year as a program in September was an accomplishment on its own, so being recognized with the innovation award just inspires us to keep going. Winning the innovation award is the culmination of all of our efforts, from our staff to our partners, to our participants; we have worked tirelessly to create a program that spurs real change in our communities and works to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Rudi Genovese, senior manager of social enterprise at Blue Door.
“I am beyond proud of what Construct is and represents and will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible to continue to drive our organization forward and provide real value to the people we serve,” Genovese said.
Blue Door has been serving the York Region population for over 39 years, providing supports including housing, health and employment for families, men, women, children, and youth who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.