Central New York, Community

Syracuse-area Training Program About More Than Craftsmanship

NCC News reporter Matt D'Ambrosi explains that the skills learned in Hope 4 Us Housing's training program are applicable to more than just a career in construction. (c) 2016 Matt D'Ambrosi

By Matt D’Ambrosi SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)  Learning a new skill can be fun. But at Hope 4 Us Housing Inc., there’s a little more to it than that.

Hope 4 Us Housing offers 90-day training programs that teach participants all sorts of skills in carpentry and construction. These include skills such as proper etiquette on a job site, how to use different types of saws, how to install light fixtures and more.

The overarching goal of the program is to equip participants with the skills they’ll need for future employment. But the owner of Hope 4 Us Housing, Lamar Middleton, explained that the program isn’t just about developing technical skills.

Participants in the Hope 4 Us Housing training program have been working on this structure throughout the duration of their program. (c) 2016 Matt D'Ambrosi

Participants in the Hope 4 Us Housing training program have been working on this structure throughout the duration of their program. (c) 2016 Matt D’Ambrosi

“We begin to work on some of those other areas during training,” Middleton said. “As we’re doing woodwork, as we’re doing that, we start talking about life, itself, a lot of times.”

Middleton said when participants complete the program, he wants them to feel good about themselves even if they come to the realization that construction-related work isn’t what they want to do.

In the case of one current participant, Miguel Baines, the reasoning for signing up was simply to acquire “extra knowledge.”

Baines, who earned an associate’s degree in general studies from Onondaga Community College in 2016, said he wants to try to apply his education before committing to a job in construction.

Regardless, he recognized that what he’s learned so far in the program has been valuable.

“Before this class, I was real timid on using my hands to do things, but being in this class, it just makes me feel like now I can just figure things out using my hands,” Baines said.

Baines, who attends training on top of working another job acknowledged it’s difficult to do both, but said he plans on finishing what he started.

“There is no chance of me just quitting,” Baines said. “Because once I start something, I like to finish it through the end.”