Cleveland Job Corps Grad Finds a Career That's Given Him the Life He Always Dreamed Of
“This career has provided me with the things I’ve always wanted in life,” says Steve Householder, PCC specialist and bricklayer with the BAC Ohio Kentucky Administrative District Council (OH-KY ADC). “I love being outside and working with my hands. There’s a skill to our craft. Plus, I have a good wage, a pension, and healthcare. I have a house now and a family I can provide for. I’ve been fortunate to stay busy working throughout my time in the union.”
When Householder entered the Cleveland Job Corps Center ten years ago, he was still making his way. “I was actually going to school for nursing, and it wasn’t for me. A friend of mine at the time was a marble mason – he eventually switched over to brick restoration like me. But he was the one that first got me interested in the trade,” Householder explains.
Currently working for OH-KY ADC signatory contractor H.M.H. Restoration, Householder takes pride in helping to preserve some of the state’s landmark structures. “One of the most memorable buildings I’ve been a part of was the Standard Building in downtown Cleveland with H.M.H. We were restoring the old terra cotta. I was up on a swing stage 280 feet in the air grinding, replacing brick and terra cotta, and demoing.” The high-rise, which originally opened in 1923, functioned as both the Standard Bank and office space for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, until it was sold off to Weston, Inc. in 2014. Union workers like Householder helped transform the historic union building into luxury apartments.
Through Job Corps and BAC’s training programs, Householder has gained the expertise he’s needed to grow his career. It was his Job Corps instructor, Salvatore Filippelli, now IMI’s Regional Job Corps Director, who influenced him to choose brick as his specialty craft. “Sal was a great teacher. He saw that I could do the work and encouraged me. He also taught me the importance of a good work ethic,” says Householder. When he finished his apprenticeship, Householder cross-trained in PCC, and in his current role with H.M.H., he works across both crafts. “At the time I entered Job Corps, I liked the idea of building new buildings. Now I like restoring them” Householder remarked.
The Cleveland Job Corps Center has helped introduced countless young people like Householder to the trowel trades, including, most recently, local high school students. IMI Director of Technical Education Tom Elliott is a mentor with the ACE Mentor Program, which inspires high schoolers to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction. ACE is growing their efforts to promote the building trades to students, and with the help of Elliott and Filippelli, ACE students from Max S. Hayes, an area vocational high school, got to participate in a hands-on masonry day at the Cleveland Job Corps Center. The experience gave the students a taste at laying brick and block, while showcasing BAC, IMI, and IMTEF’s quality training programs.
IMI operates Job Corps brick and tile training programs across the country, employing BAC instructors who provide classroom and hands-on training. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps is a free program that helps eligible 16-24-year-olds build careers and independence. The program offers a viable pathway to a career in the trades. For more information on IMI Job Corps programs, visit http://imtef.org/job-corps-program.