On June 24th, 169 apprentices graduated from the apprenticeship program at Terrace on the Park in Queens. Prepared with state-of-the art skills, we welcomed the next generation of union carpenters, many of whom are now building world-class infrastructure in New York City and the surrounding areas.
The night was fun for our graduating apprentices and their families. It also served as a farewell for Peter Bennett, the outgoing Director of the Training Center who retired after five years in that role. Peter offered his well wishes to all the graduates and commended them for staying committed to their apprenticeships despite the uncertainty of the pandemic that took place during half of their time as apprentices.
The evening also served as an introduction to the new Director of the Training Center Jim Hayes. Jim was eager to get involved with his new council and jumped at the opportunity to attend the celebration to meet the graduates, shake hands, and wish them well as they carve out their careers in the NYC Carpenters Union. He also joined Peter Bennett on stage to hand out the plaques and the esteemed Golden Hammer awards to the winners of the annual competition.
Attendees had the honor of hearing from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, both of whom congratulated the graduates. Mayor Adams shared how important he felt the apprenticeship program was because it provides a pathway to the American Dream. He went on to say that “the future is here in New York City, and as graduates of the District Council of Carpenters, you are building the city of tomorrow. Your work will shape the city for generations to come and our administration is excited to be there to lift you all up.” Commissioner Reardon echoed the mayor and went on to say that the “apprenticeship program is an important contributor to our city’s workforce, and I commend the NYC Carpenters Union for creating pathways to good-paying, family-sustaining union jobs for all New Yorkers.”
The night was celebratory, and the graduates showed gratitude to the instructors who helped them over the years, including one instructor whose name stood out. That instructor was Charlie McReynolds.
Charlie was a Vietnam veteran who became an instructor in the Training Center. He loved his job and enjoyed attending the graduations each year. Sadly, he passed away shortly before the graduation ceremony took place. Charlie was loved throughout by all he came in contact with. Those he worked alongside characterized him as someone who was always willing to lend a hand and help others. Many carpenters were taught under Charlie, and he is remembered eternally by the membership he so dearly cared for. His son was also present so that instructors and apprentices from the Carpenters Training Center could offer their respects and well wishes to him, and his family.
We thank everyone who came out for the celebration and wish these new brothers and sisters well in their fulfilling careers as the next generation of union carpenters.