Carpenters Apprenticeship Ready Program (CARP) Prepares Diverse, Skilled Jobs

May 31, 2024

The construction industry has come a long way since 1935, when the first woman, Margaret Ellings, was initiated into the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. But despite the great strides, women represent just 10.8% of the construction industry. Because increasing diverse representation in the trade has long been a goal, the EAS Carpenters Union launched the Carpenters Apprenticeship Ready Program (CARP) – a pre-apprentice program that introduces the basic principles of carpentry to build the technical and practical skills necessary for acceptance into their local registered carpenter apprenticeship program.


During the ten-week program, pre-apprentices learn about the tangible elements of carpentry, including woodworking, metal framing, safety measures and construction math, while bettering their professional development skills for job hunting and interviews. Started in 2016 in Philadelphia, the CARP program has grown across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.


Most recently, the Keystone Mountain Lakes (KML) Carpenters Training Fund hosted its first all-female CARP cohort to further encourage women in the Pittsburgh region to join the trade.


“This past September, I attended an informational session for the Pittsburgh Carpenters Apprenticeship Program and spoke with Rich Paganie [Director of the Carpenters Union Pittsburgh Training Center], where he mentioned the all-female CARP cohort,” shared Kam Mišeikytė, recent CARP graduate. “I felt I needed more experience before applying for the apprenticeship program, so I kept a tight eye on the website and applied for the program once enrollment opened.


“CARP was such a great precursor to see what carpentry is all about and further cemented my passion for this career path. Though no job site will look like my all-female cohort, I’m left with incredible confidence to show up to any site and get the job done – regardless of who’s there.”


CARP creates a unique opportunity for traditionally underrepresented populations in the building trades. It helps them to learn soft skills and gain hands-on exposure to all crafts of carpentry. CARP lays out the pathway to enroll in the formal apprenticeship program and pursue a career as a professional union carpenter, ultimately leading to a lifelong, fulfilling career that guarantees fair wages and benefits.


“I always had an excitement for building things, but never had anyone to guide me to a career in the trades,” said Tausha Kendrick, recent CARP graduate. “For so long, it was an untapped interest that didn’t fully develop until the program. Now, I’ve built up the confidence to start my four-year apprenticeship and gain the skills necessary to be the best carpenter I can be.”


The EAS Carpenters Union continues to increase diversity in its union through the Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) program and CARP. For more information about CARP, please visit: https://eascarpenters.org/carp/