SAINT PAUL, MN – The Construction Careers Foundation (CCF) has named Donna Kusske as director of the Building Minnesota Apprenticeship Program. The Construction Careers Foundation is a Saint Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering and developing construction career pathways for Minnesotans, in particular, young adults seeking an alternative to a four-year college degree.
In her new role with the Construction Careers Foundation, Kusske will apply her 25 years of experience in the construction industry to helping young people apply and participate in union-sponsored apprenticeship programs. These apprenticeship programs help young people begin careers as plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, and more.
Founded in 2004, the Building Minnesota Apprenticeship Program (BMA) is a multi-craft, entry-level training program registered with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to provide a mechanism for individuals to become aware of, and enter into, a career path within the construction trades industry. The Construction Careers Foundation, in partnership with the Minneapolis and St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Councils, are the program’s sponsors.
To date, 73% of participants in this program have been individuals of color and 24% females. BMA has a “graduation” rate of 70%, meaning that 70% of BMA apprentices have been accepted into single craft union apprenticeships in the following: electrical, pipefitting, plumbing, sheetmetal and ironworkers.
A Hastings, Minn., resident, Kusske owned and managed Kusske Mechanical, a mechanical contractor located in Hastings, Minn., for 19 years. For the last six years, she served as a senior buyer with the Corval Group, a full-service industrial general contractor and engineering firm located in St. Paul.
Advocating for the construction industry has been a big part of Kusske’s career. Kusske has been active in the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, serving as the organization’s first female president in 2000-2001. In addition, she served on the joint apprentice training committees for two organizations, the St. Paul Pipefitters, Local 455, and the St. Paul Plumbers, Local 34.
“A large portion of my new role is to attract women and young people of color into the construction trades,” says Kusske. “Throughout my career, I have been a strong advocate of introducing young people – especially women and minorities – to apprenticeship opportunities. I see this new role as a continuation of the work that I have been passionate about my entire career.”
To learn more about the Building Minnesota Apprenticeship Program, contact (612) 369-2273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Construction Careers Foundation
The Construction Careers Foundation is a Saint Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering and developing construction career pathways for Minnesotans, especially young adults. With funding from the Minnesota State Legislature and oversight from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Construction Careers Foundation conducts a statewide effort to attract more people, in particular, young people, women and people of color, into the construction trades to support Minnesota construction industry. To learn more about the Construction Careers Foundation, visit constructioncareers.org.