Snyder Environmental, Our House Join To Match Jobs, Training

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 12:00 am  

Like well-matched couples, program partners sometimes just seem to come together.

Such is the case with a new construction job training program scheduled to launch in January that joins homeless shelter Our House of Little Rock and contractor Snyder Environmental to meet complementary needs.

Our House is offering pre-screened and drug-free prospective employees, who are particularly motivated to work because their housing depends on their finding jobs, according to Georgia Mjartan, executive director of Our House.

Snyder, an environmental remediation contractor based in North Little Rock, is stepping forward with some program funding, in addition to offering entry-level construction jobs with above-average pay in the niche field of asbestos abatement.

A $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant and the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation are taking care of the training necessary to marry the two.

(Video: Click here to watch our interview with Snyder Environmental CEO Joe Carter as he explains the job training program and shows his workers in action.)

The EPA awarded the grant to the construction foundation last June. ACEF, a nonprofit that serves the Arkansas construction industry, will screen program applicants, hire instructors and host the asbestos abatement and other construction training in its Little Rock training center and work to match training program graduates with employers.

The training is offered for free to up to 20 homeless and unemployed or underemployed people per four-week session. Our House has committed to recruiting seven participants for each of the five sessions, which will occur during the course of two years.

Prospects who finish the program will earn the state certification that allows them to work in asbestos abatement; be trained to OSHA standards for Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response; earn two national certifications for working in green and sustainable construction; and complete seven other classes that broaden their construction skills.

Snyder Environmental hired the grant writer who successfully applied for the $200,000 grant on behalf of ACEF and the other partners and has committed to paying stipends to Our House clients who participate in the training program. And the company expects to hire many of the program’s graduates.

Without the stipends from Snyder, Our House clients would be without income for four weeks and would be ineligible to continue living at Our House — hence, Snyder’s commitment to paying at least $16,000 in stipends only for Our House clients.

“Their job, so to speak, during that time frame will be to go to school and to successfully complete the program,” said Snyder CEO Joe Carter. “And then it’s our hope that Snyder is in a position to be able to give those employees full-time employment.”



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