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SAN FRANCISCO—Sixteen recently trained construction professionals graduated from the India Basin Waterfront Park project’s workforce development program and stand ready to build San Francisco’s next great park, as well as other projects throughout the Bay Area, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
The 16 graduates come from two separate specialty construction training cohorts. The four-week training is a partnership between Rec and Park and India Basin Waterfront Park project partners: the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and its CityBuild Construction Training Academy, along with the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI).
City leaders and family and friends of the graduates gathered Tuesday evening for the ceremony at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Southeast Community Center in Bayview-Hunters Point. Graduates received certificates and bonuses.
The program, based out of APRI’s offices, prepares participants for union careers as carpenters, laborers, cement masons and other skilled workers. Participants receive a stipend, work clothes, tools and funds to pay for union membership.
“Through this amazing community program, we’re ensuring that local residents have access to high-quality training and meaningful career paths,” said OEWD’s Director of Workforce Development Josh Arce. “Programs like this, as well as partnerships with community-based organizations such as APRI and the Northern California Laborers, ensure that Recreation and Parks and CityBuild are able to bring vital workforce opportunities to residents within the community they live and citywide. India Basin is a national model for how to build a park with the community.”
The graduates come primarily from Bayview-Hunters Point or other underserved communities in San Francisco and face challenges as job seekers ranging from difficulties with childcare to being justice involved. Most graduates have already been placed in jobs, including some who are working on India Basin Waterfront Park with the project’s construction firm Swinerton.
“This program is a pathway to a family-sustainable career here in the city,” said APRI’s Executive Director Jackie Flin. “In partnership with so many program supporters and the community, we are keeping the promise to create opportunities right here for the neighborhood.”
The India Basin Waterfront Park project is the city’s most ambitious effort at comprehensive park investment in a historically underserved community. It is guided by an Equitable Development Plan (EDP), a first for San Francisco, with the goal of delivering a park designed by and for Bayview-Hunters Point. The project was partially funded by a grant from 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington DC which is leading a 5-city pilot project on workforce development connected to equitably developed parks that also includes park projects in Grand Rapids, MI, Dallas, TX and Buffalo, NY.
An area of focus for the EDP is workforce and business development, including training and hiring residents to build the park and providing jobs and opportunities for small businesses once the park is open.
“We’re excited to have alumni of the program, who primarily come from this community, working on a transformational new park right in their backyard,” said Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “These graduates have trained for more than a job. They have sharpened their skills to build a career. We look forward to the day they bring their friends and families to this park, as well as other parks and buildings, and point out what they helped create.”
The India Basin Waterfront Park project will create a sprawling 10-acre park for the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, complete with a new boathouse, beach, food pavilion, makers shop, docks and piers, community gathering spaces, and multi-use trails, while refurbishing the historic Shipwright’s Cottage, renovating the existing playground, restoring native habitats and much more. Additional information about the project can be found at ibwaterfrontpark.com.