PHILADELPHIA (PRWEB) MAY 01, 2023
In honor of The National Skilled Trades Day (May 3, 2023), the Carpenter Contractor Trust today highlighted students from inner city high schools across Philadelphia who are working against the clock to finish their boats, made from scratch, to then find out if their designs will sink or float. The hands-on curriculum is taught by a retired union carpenter through the Independence Seaport Museum – and it’s making quite the splash.
“’Is this really going to float?’ The parents always ask that,” chuckles Tom Barnes, the retired union carpenter who co-teaches the Independence Seaport Museum’s Workshop on the Water with Educator and Shipwright Dave Dormond. “You should see the progress these students make. They come in all shy and insecure and by the end they’re coming to me to ask what they can do next.”
Two groups of high school juniors and seniors from the Maritime Charter Academy High School in Philadelphia; and one group from the Sequoia Alternative Program, Lenape Regional School District, in New Jersey, come eager to learn once a week for 2 to 3-hours at a time. The small groups, usually five to 10 students, have been coming since October. They will complete their boats this month, in a nod toward National Skilled Trades Day on May 3rd; though classes run through the end of the month. In June, there’s a moment of truth, when the boats are christened with apple cider and taken out to the Delaware River basin by nervous students and parents – as a water safety boat stands by.
“There are a lot of skills that go into building one of these boats,” explained Barnes. “And these kids get to do all of it, from scratch.”
While uncertain at first, there’s a definite boost in self-esteem just a few weeks in. One of the classes this semester has the same roster as last year, as the students wanted to do it all again. “We changed it for that class to expand their skillset,” Barnes said.
The classes are an opportunity for students to learn about the different tools, how they work, how they sound, and how they can be applied to various trades within the construction industry. They’re also an opportunity for union carpenters to share insight into the possibilities and potential of a career in the trades; particularly for families who may seek ways for students to rise in their career paths, secure a sustainable job with benefits, and not accumulate large amounts of debt from school.
“Parents don’t immediately think of carpentry as a career, but union work offers a great salary, health insurance and other benefits, and many opportunities for upward mobility,” said Cyndie Williams, executive director of the Carpenter Contractor Trust, a labor management trust formed to bond the relationship between the talents of union carpenters and their signatory contractors.
“The Workshop on the Water at Independence Seaport Museum is excited to partner with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters to continue our mission to educate through the craft of wooden boatbuilding,” said Dormond. “We’re grateful for the contributions the EASRCC has made toward our educational programming and students have benefitted tremendously through this partnership in our shop.”
The completion of the class comes with an additional perk, lifetime free rental of the boat that they made with their classmates. All other Seaport guests must pay to rent the boats for a leisurely ride. Though the real perks are the life skills and the confidence these students have earned; and, of course, the skillset to build a new boat whenever they want.
About Carpenter Contractor Trust
The Carpenter Contractor Trust (CCT) is a labor-management trust formed to bond the relationship between the trained talents of union carpenters and their qualified signatory contractors to gain market share within the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters area. CCT serves as a liaison to amplify the voices of partners and to bring attention to matters that affect them most. Learn more at cctmarketing.org.