Akron Public Schools (APS) in Ohio received a hefty contribution from a local labor union, which forged a partnership brokered by DistrictWON that also includes informing students and the community about opportunities that exist in the building and construction trades industry after graduation.
Laborers Local Union No. 894, a chartered affiliate of LiUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America, AFL-CIO), is headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and represents approximately 1,300 men and women in the building and construction trades industry. LiUNA Local 894 — whose members provide a skilled, in-demand workforce to more than 500 building and heavy highway contractors — recently contributed $7,500 to APS.
“The ultimate goal for APS regarding our students is that they graduate and subsequently enroll into further education, enlist in a service branch of the military, and/or gain employment in the workforce,” said Joseph Vassalotti, coordinator of Secondary Education and Athletics at Akron Public Schools. “Our partnership with LiUNA has certainly increased interest and access to that last goal.”
“Our student athletes, in particular, have been helped by our promotion of skilled trades via LiUNA at contests held in our gyms and stadiums,” Vassalotti explained.
Cedric Sommerville, president of LiUNA Local 894, said because not all students decide to attend community colleges or universities, the union’s partnership with APS allows students the opportunity to learn and become valuable employees of the building and construction trades.
Through LiUNA Local 894’s messaging at APS games, for example, students learn that “there are other career opportunities and jobs in the construction trades, and that the jobs are good paying jobs, along with benefits and pension funds,” Sommerville said.
In fact, according to LiUNA Local 894 Business Manager Vern Floyd, jobs in the construction trades provide a livable wage that starts at $21 an hour or more plus benefits on top of their pay, and workers can retire with a nice pension. “You can’t beat that,” he said.
The union is getting a lot of positive feedback from community members who have heard about LiUNA Local 894 and the benefits of the skilled trades industry over the loudspeakers at football games and via the union’s banners, which are displayed on APS stadium walls, added Floyd.
Sommerville agreed, saying “both students and parents have been extremely receptive, with lots of questions and inquiries regarding our messaging at the games and on banners,” which are all part of its partnership with APS developed through DistrictWON.
“Our support has educated the schools and community, which in turn allows them to get engaged and involved with the building and construction trades,” said Sommerville, adding that it’s always an honor to help the local schools and community.
“We value the future generation of kids, and we want to support them,” he said.
Rocky River, Ohio-based DistrictWON creates meaningful brand connections within local communities through marketing partnerships between businesses and high schools. For more information on how to reach high school students, parents and administrators in a way that truly makes a difference in the community, visit https://www.districtwon.com, https://www.facebook.com/districtwon, or follow https://twitter.com/districtwon on Twitter.