Ana J. Ayala, a 23-year old carpenter for Local 255, attributes the Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) program for most of the positive changes in her life and career up until this point.
Prior to joining the program, Ana worked in the bakery of a local restaurant near Cherry Hill, NJ, making $10 an hour with no health or retirement benefits. After hearing about the SIB program from her sister who works in the construction industry, she reached out Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Reginal Council of Carpenters Representative Susan Schultz, who guided her through the application process.
“This program truly changed my life and gave me the opportunity to pursue a career, not just a job. The Sisters in the Brotherhood program molded me into a Union carpenter where I make strong wages and health benefits,” said Ana. “After going through the program, I was accepted directly into my Local and my entire situation changed for the better. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge and useful information this program provided me.”
In addition to the hands-on training, practical curriculum and strong support network, Ana points out one thing that the SIB taught her: best safety practices. Ana also values the large network of people the program exposed her to, which opened her up to connections that lead to job opportunities, as well as the volunteer opportunities to allow her to give back to the communities in which she lives and works.
“The Sisters in the Brotherhood program provides you with the tools for success from start to finish and even after you graduate; especially when it comes to staying safe on the job site,” said the Local 255 Union carpenter. “It prepares you to stay safe, educates you on the proper use of tools and provides practical guidelines to know what to expect and be cautious of when working in this industry.”
Ana is currently working on the flourishing Camden waterfront, doing carpentry work for General Contractor Jingoli, building office towers for Component Assembly Systems.
“Ana is an extremely fast learner and is very eager to absorb as much as knowledge as she can from her co-workers on the jobsite,” said Component Assembly Systems Foreman Gerald Hessler. “She has no fear, a great work ethic and has all of the makings to be a great leader on a construction site – any Foreman would be lucky to have her working on their crew.”
“I highly recommend this program to any women interested in the trades,” said Ana. “Everyone that comes through the program is encouraged to be a leader and to set an example for your coworkers – the Sisters in the Brotherhood is creating the next wave of pioneer women in the carpentry industry.”