A School for Construction Skills
Business owner's job training center will employ inner city workers.
A local business owner is moving forward with plans to establish a job training school for construction trades in the Uptown neighborhood.
Perry Lindsey, owner of P.L. Innovations LLC, which works in construction and trucking, was approved by the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development committee Tuesday to buy a city-owned property at 5424-5430 W. Lisbon Ave.
The building was formerly used as a church and will cost Lindsey $10,000 to purchase from the city. He expects renovations of the property to cost about $50,000 and said he will provide a significant amount of “sweat equity” to the project.
In fact, some of that “sweat equity” will be used to train future tradesman, he said.
Lindsey was driven to start this school out of his personal experience hiring young men to work for him on construction sites.
“I’ve spent a lot of money bringing guys into my company and the skills are not there,” he said. “I want to perfect these skills.”
He spends the money to keep them employed, even when the skills are lacking, “because they have families,” he said.
Lindsey has been a union tradesman since 1992, and said the instructors that will be training the young workers will largely be retired union tradesman.
The retirees’ idle hands will be put to work in Lindsey’s workshop, and they know the skills, “like the back of their hands,” he said.
Some trades that individuals will be able to pick up at Lindsey’s future school include: drywall, lead abatement, painting, plumbing, and other construction-related skills.
As an employer, Lindsey said he has plenty of people that want work as laborers, but added, “I can have a million laborers, but that just means picking up wood over here and putting it over there. I want you to learn your skills.”
The school will allow students to be working and building their skills at the same time, Lindsey said. One way it will work is if someone messes up on the job, they’ll have the chance to go to the school and refine the skill so it doesn’t happen again.
Lindsey doesn’t care if individuals he trains go on to work for competing firms or start their own. “That’s the whole plan,” he said; creating skilled employment for central city residents is his aim.
“It’s a lot of construction going on in the inner city and I want them to be a part of it,” he said.