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NEW: Brown Tops-Off $35-Million Renovation Project, Touts New Jobs Plan

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Placing the final beam atop the Building for Environmental Research and Teaching, Brown University officially celebrated the topping-off of a $35-million dollar renovation project today and announced a new agreement that university representatives say will provide more opportunities for graduates of the Building Futures program, an organization that helps prepare low-income men and woman for careers in construction.

So far, seven graduates of the pre-apprenticeship program have worked on the project to date, helping with demolition, electrical, masonry and other work. When completed later this fall, the building is expected to be used for cross-disciplinary teaching, research and engagement in the environmental sciences.

Going forward, Brown has adopted a goal to utilize workers from the Building Futures program on all construction projects over $5 million and hopes to dedicate at least 15 percent of the labor hours to its graduates.

The agreement was signed by Stephen Maiorisi, vice president of facilities management at Brown; Andrew Cortés, executive director at Building Futures Rhode Island; and Michael Sabitoni, president of the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council.

“We share Building Futures’ commitment to the local economy and hope this agreement will play a role in making sure Building Futures graduates are placed in good jobs after their training is complete,” said Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy at Brown.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras was on hand for the ceremony and said the university is “at the forefront of an important national effort to train the next generation of environmental researchers and teachers who can meet the tremendous challenges we face.”

Since 2007, Building Futures has held a pre-apprenticeship program that assesses, trains, and supports individuals from underrepresented groups as they transition to family-sustaining careers in the construction trades through a registered apprenticeship training system.

“Brown University continues to be leader among our important institutions, and by adopting this agreement we have taken our partnership to a new level,” Cortés said. “Over 50 Building Futures graduates have advanced in genuine careers through employment on projects at Brown. The apprentice utilization program not only helps our community residents in need but also addresses significant challenges faced by the construction industry.”

When completed, the renovation project will have provided work for 170 people, and most of the construction materials were purchased in Rhode Island.

The building features four classrooms, including a 200-seat auditorium, 12 labs, 17 conference rooms and informal interaction spaces, 22 faculty and administrative offices and a 4,000 square-foot research greenhouse with six additional labs.

Renovation began in August 2012 and is estimated to cost approximately $35.3 million when completed.


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