Hager's Building Futures Program recognized with NABTU Award

The Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council’s Apprenticeship Readiness Program, which was created by former Insulators Local 50 Business Manager Dorsey Hager, was honored with the Mark H. Ayers Community Achievement Award during the 2023 North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Legislative Conference.

Named after a former NABTU President, the Mark  H. Ayers Award was established to honor programs and individuals who have expanded, grown and opened new doors to provide opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, social class or age.

Hager joined the Insulators Union in 1994 and topped out in 1998. As the son of a union pipefitter, he understood the importance of being active within the union and served as Local 50's Financial Secretary from 2000 to 2003. He then served as Local 50 Business Manager from 2003-2014. 

For the past nine years, Hager has worked as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the C/COBCTC. The building trades council represents more than 18,000 union construction workers from 19 affiliated Local Unions and  District Councils in the Central Ohio region, including the City of Columbus.

On Nov. 13, 2017, the C/COBCTC officially announced a partnership with the Franklin County Commissioners and a community organization group to create the Building Futures Program. Five months later, the first cohort graduated from the program.

Building Futures is a 12-week Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ARP) dedicated to equip members of underserved communities to remove employment obstacles, educate them on life skills and teach them the foundations of construction to prepare them for registered apprenticeship programs and a successful career in the union construction industry.   

Program participants receive life skills training in financial literacy, math, reading and more, in addition to an introduction to the construction industry. Wrap-around services are also provided to help graduates transition into a registered apprenticeship program of their choice.

On the second day of the NABTU Legislative Conference, a video was played to explain the Building Futures Program to all the delegates and help them understand why NABTU President Sean McGarvey repeatedly called Building Futures the country’s model Apprenticeship Readiness Program.

When the video finished, Hager, along with C/COBCTC Communications and Outreach Director Kelly Harrop and Creating Central Ohio Futures Program Director Leland Bass, accepted the award on behalf of the regional building trades council.

“When I heard from NABTU that we were going to receive the award, I was pleasantly surprised,” said Hager. “The pride comes in helping those who may have never  been given an opportunity in the trades.”

Since the program began, Insulators Local 50 has helped play a role in the program’s success. About 10 Building Futures Program graduates have joined the Columbus/Dayton HFIAW Local. Among the 10 was Gary Johnson, last year’s Local 50 Apprentice of the Year. 

The life-changing program has helped hundreds of men and women transform their lives. 

"Anytime you win a national award or receive praise or recognition, it gives your program credibility," said Hager. "When we had our first event (in November 2018), many in the community were skeptical. Since that time, we have proved that we do what we say, and we say what we do, which is to continue to reach out to the underserved sections of our community to provide economic opportunities for all." 

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