The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale has operated a state certified Step-Up Apprenticeship Program (Step-Up) for the last 17 years since 1994. The objective of the program is to provide apprentices with the opportunity to create a portfolio of education, training, and employment skills to increase their potential for permanent employment and economic self-sufficiency. During the two-year state certified program, apprentices are trained in construction skills with a specialty in housing rehabilitation and building maintenance for occupations in the public and private sectors. All apprentices are required to obtain their GED while in the program and certified instructors teach morning and evening classes at the Housing Authority to help prepare the apprentices for the exam.
There are approximately thirty apprentices enrolled in the Step-Up program.
Since 1994, the Step-Up program has successfully rehabilitated over 925 foreclosed, abandoned, and distressed properties. Step-Up supplied two-thirds of the cabinetry at the completed Dixie Court development and was the sole purveyor of the bath and kitchen cabinets for all 100 units of the second phase of the Dixie Court development. Since then, part of the shop has been transformed into a production facility: Step-Up was the sole manufacturer and installer of kitchen and bath cabinetry for 71 units of the NW Gardens I development, 72 units of the Alan Apartment improvements, and the 150-unit NW Gardens III development. Once complete, they will focus efforts on cabinetry production for Dr. Kennedy Homes (132 units).
The Step-Up classroom curriculum has been recently expanded and the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale is now a training site for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Five of the Housing Authority’s supervisors have been trained as accredited NCCER craft instructors. The NCCER curriculum offered to the apprentices includes: core construction, green building, weatherization, carpentry, plumbing, painting, and drywall. Several Step-Up apprentices are receiving training and studying for the LEED Green Associate exam made possible through a DOL job training grant. The apprentices who pass the LEED Green Associate exam will be eligible to attend the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Step-Up program.