19 Apprentices Graduate Upward Advancement Program to Transit Electrical Helper Titles

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Other officers attending including Secretary Treasurer Earl Phillips, Recording Secretary LaTony Crisp, Administrative Vice President Nelson Rivera, and Vice Presidents John Chiarello (MOW), Shirley Martin (CED) and Derrick Echevarria (Stations).

CTA Reginald Hancock, one of the graduates, who had a background in electrical theory from New York City Technical College, said: “I learned more in six months in this program than in four years at college.”

Another graduate, Latasha Goodall, who has worked at Coney Island as a Cleaner since 2005, said that the program “has changed my whole life.” She said that the training was a particular struggle because “I didn’t know anything about motors, or wiring. It’s like a miracle. It was very hard, but I’m here, I made it.”

Traffic Checker Nakita Ollivierre, said that the only thing she knew about electricity six months ago was “how to plug a cord into the wall outlet. Now I can start a three phase motor.” Nakita said that she always thought she would be a white collar worker, after graduating St. John’s with a degree in Psychology. “I never thought I would love motors. I love this.”

TPPA Laurence Allen, who was born in Jamaica and went to John Jay for Security Management, also had zero background in electricity. “It was a very challenging program. But eventually everything came together for me.” Laurence, who has three sons, said his job with NYCT was his first union job and he sees the difference. “The union job is great, the best job to have. Local 100 is a great union for our workforce.”

Veronica Hill echoed Brother Allen’s sentiments on TWU. “I think the union is great. It has a lot of resources and is very supportive.” Hill, who’s dad was a Bus Operator at Flatbush Depot, is also a college graduate. “I never thought I would be working for New York City Transit. But I was out of work for a while and took a lot of City tests. I got called for a job as a TPPA. Today, I feel blessed.”

Tamika Lassiter is a 17 year veteran of Transit as a TPPA. Her mom is a retired Train Operator, who told Tamika after she got out of the U.S. Navy in 2000 to apply for a transit job. “A few years ago I started taking advantage of the technical courses at the union hall with the Training Upgrading Fund. Once I started there, I knew I had found my calling.” Tamika said the Apex training “is tough. It is trying, but I learned a lot and I’m ready.”

Tenesha Harris, a Station Cleaner since 2006 said, “the program is hard, it’s rough. Don’t think you can come in here and whiz through it. It’s a lot of studying. You have to put your all into to it.” She is hoping to get assigned to Elevator & Escalator, but is ready for anything. “The union has helped me big time in so many ways. This program, it’s a blessing.”