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Help Wanted: Trades Training for High School Seniors

Mon, 03/25/2024 - 10:11
Ulises Munguia received his second scholarship award for six months of successful employment as an electrician apprentice by Glen Olsen of G. Craig Electric.
Courtesy of the Construction Career Charitable Fund

In the spirit of unity and community, rather than competition, three local high-end construction companies have come together to launch the Construction Career Charitable Fund, a scholarship program for high school students who are interested in learning the building trades.

This industry provides "a really good living out here, and these great subcontractors are willing to teach our young people to be in a trade and learn the skill set," said Anastasia Gavalas, whose husband, George Gavalas, is the owner of BuildTheory, which joined with Ed Bulgin of Bulgin & Associates and Julie Hatfield of Wright & Co. to establish this initiative.

The scholarship program, now in its second year, provides up to $10,000 to help a young tradesman or tradeswoman get started in a field with a training program and acquire tools or transportation, along with other necessities. It is for "young people of all different backgrounds and capacities" who are interested in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical work, HVAC work, painting, design, or landscaping.

The scholarship is paid in three installments: 20 percent is provided upon successfully completing three weeks of work, 40 percent after six months of work, and the remaining 40 percent after a full year. It's up to the students themselves to secure a position from a list of subcontractors that have been screened and approved by the fund.

Seniors from East Hampton High School, Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, Southampton High School, Bridgehampton High School, and Hampton Bays High School are eligible. An email can be sent to [email protected] to obtain an application form and more information.

"We know there is a huge need," said Ms. Gavalas, who also happens to be a member of the Southampton School Board. "We see the trade parade every day. We are in the business, so we know craftsmanship, and true craftsmanship is something that's being lost. And we recognize the importance of understanding that not every kid is going to go to college."

The scholarship program is run by donations, so she encourages potential supporters to contact the email address above if they're interested in donating.

"If we can keep getting donations, we're happy to give the scholarships out," Ms. Gavalas said. "We have the connections as people in the business, so it's just a matter of getting the word out there that this is available."

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