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Lamont Rouse was working at Wendy’s when he decided he wanted to further his education and pursue a career in an area other than food service. After doing some research, he found New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI). He originally inquired about computer classes but ultimately decided to enroll in the Building Trades Specialist program. That decision has led to him joining a union and doing construction work with his own business.
While Rouse was considering enrolling at NCCTI, he learned that school personnel help students and graduates find jobs in their area of study. That was a big positive for him and contributed to his decision to enroll.
When Rouse was halfway through the program, school staff members began helping him pursue employment opportunities. Because of the school’s relationships, Rouse was given the option of being connected to a roofers union or painters union. He chose the latter and interviewed with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. The interview went well and he was accepted as a first-year apprentice.
“I enjoy working with my hands,” Rouse said. “Sometimes it’s annoying and sometimes it’s aggravating but the fact that I love working with my hands, it keeps me going. Plus it pays well. And it’s something productive I’m doing.”
As part of the union’s three-year apprenticeship program, Rouse earns a $4 per hour pay increase every six months. Because the union rotates apprentices for opportunities, he also has his own construction business to have work in between union jobs.
Rouse said the education he received at NCCTI prepared him for work in the construction field. The Building Trades Specialist program provides instruction in a variety of areas, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing and finishing. An internship is also part of the program.
“They teach you those things and you can take those things out into the field with you,” Rouse said.
According to NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton, Rouse was a very hands-on student who wanted to get out in the field quickly.
“He didn’t sit and wait. He was aggressive for his own success,” Brutton said. “He challenged us as a school to make it rewarding for him. He brought the best out of us.”
Yusto Awich served as Rouse’s instructor.
“Lamont is a hardworking guy with a lot of ambition,” Awich said. “If he gets a job, he will do it well.”
Rouse said he had a great experience at NCCTI.
“They’re here to help you find a job. They can’t get you a job but they’ll help point you in the right direction,” Rouse said. “Coming out, I had an opportunity that I wouldn’t have had going in. It was a success.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business & Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.