What child doesn't love the idea of playing around with construction equipment? Now just think if they can turn that into a lifelong, well-paying career. That's the idea behind a collaboration between Capital BlueCross and the United Way TeenWorks in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
On Columbus Day, they provided a field trip for Roosevelt Elementary School students to Diggerland USA, a construction theme park in West Berlin, N.J. The idea is to expose the students to engaging and interactive experiences that will help pique their interest in the building and construction trades.
The collaboration is also designed to help break the cycle of poverty. Most of the children at the school in Allentown live at or below the federal poverty level. With the growing need for workers, the Building & Constructions Trade unions are recruiting now for future pre-apprenticeships and full apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are free, and students earn while they learn. When they graduate to journeyman status, wages are typically $60,000 to $90,000 depending on the trade.
The field trip was a huge success for everyone involved! The children had a wonderful time, and Capital BlueCross employees who attended had an enlightening day watching kids interact with heavy equipment, or test their dexterity 60 feet in the air.
TeenWorks paid for the cost of the park tickets, while the Healthy You Café at the Capital Blue health and wellness center provided nutritious lunches and snacks. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542 provided the bus.
This is just the beginning of this partnership. It is a great example of Capital BlueCross' community involvement, and collaboration with trade unions to help children in the Greater Lehigh Valley region. By getting involved at an early age, the group feels that they can make a difference with the children, while building their skills and enthusiasm, to keep them focused on success. This experiment is just beginning and you will hear more about the successes in the near future!