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Construction Careers Foundation Names Sam Ebute to Statewide Trades Navigator Role

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. —  Construction Careers Foundation has announced that Sam Ebute, former Director of the Minnesota Trades Academy, will hold a new position with the Twin Cities nonprofit as a statewide Trades Navigator.

The addition of this new role to the leadership team is an important step toward achieving the organizations’ COVID-19 goal to virtually connect a greater number of Minnesota students with resources and individualized pathway plans to apprenticeships in the construction building trades industry.

As Trades Navigator, Ebute will be responsible for assisting and directing youth exploring careers in Minnesota’s construction building trades and helping them plan and prepare for apprenticeships in the construction trades, an “earn while you learn” post-secondary option.

Originally from Nigeria, Ebute came to the United States in 1983 and lived in Menomonie , Wisconsin, before moving to the Twin Cities area in 1986. Ebute has been involved in the high school education system since 1997, where he has focused on behavior intervention and youth counseling. PC: CCF

Ebute will connect committed students with career opportunities made available by Construction Careers Foundation stakeholders, such as construction trade unions, as well as union training centers and signatory contractors. He has previously helped many Twin Cities metro-area high school graduates find their path into apprenticeship and now will also focus on building a network of student-apprenticeship relations and career placement opportunities in more of the state’s rural communities.

The new Trades Navigator role serves as a resource for students and educators and is part of an ongoing, state-wide effort to attract high school students into construction trades apprenticeships as a first pick post-secondary option.

“Sam is one of the most experienced and successful leaders in our industry. His partnerships with our stakeholders and his experience in leading programs such as the Minnesota Trades Academy has helped hundreds of students experience firsthand Minnesota’s construction industry,” said Sarah Lechowich, senior director for the Construction Careers Foundation. “His experiences and expertise make him the ideal leader to drive the change and connect students with local apprenticeship opportunities where they live.”

“Sam has already connected with students through phone calls, email and Zoom meetings,” added Lechowich, “to make sure they move forward in their career journey. His mentorship comes at a critical time for youth across Minnesota, who are adapting to pandemic challenges and the lack of in-person learning and spring career fairs.”

Ebute has established relationships with many metro area school districts and is looking forward to also serving greater Minnesota.

“I am excited for the opportunities I will get to create for students,” Ebute said. “The Construction Careers Foundation has gathered inquiries from young people about their construction interests and questions through the ConstructionCareers.org website, social media accounts, Construction Trades mobile app, and discussions with high school shop educators and counselors.”

“We are confident that this position will serve as a bridge for young people who are looking for answers to their questions,” Ebute added.

Ebute’s growing list of interested local high school students and educators means he will join high school classes virtually over spring semester to chat with students and answer their questions about the apprenticeship application process.

“We have a strong foundation in Hennepin and Ramsey counties of great partnerships — reliable contractors, excellent accredited apprenticeship programs accepting applicants, and eager students ready to enroll,” Ebute said. “I have meetings already with educators in Mankato, so we can build out our presence, share our resources and spread awareness of local opportunities to the Iron Range and further north.”

Ebute’s ideal candidates to connect with are juniors and seniors in high school as well as young people between the ages of 17 and 24.

“Students interested in apprenticeship will need to be 17 and have a high school diploma or GED to enter most apprenticeships,” Ebute said. “However, they can begin the online or paper application process while still in high school. Many Union training centers will start the students’ application files pending graduation. Some trades host mid-winter open houses or have email mailing lists a student will want to know about to stay informed about important dates. We are here to help.”

Ebute and the Construction Careers Foundation are working in tandem with unions and contractors to help students find their pathway into post-secondary apprenticeship. Key support arrives from school districts, Minnesota’s building and construction trade unions, and some of Minnesota’s largest construction companies, such as  Kraus Anderson, McGough, Mortenson, Opus, PCL, Ryan, among others.

“The pandemic allowed us to continue to reinvent ourselves and make our resources even more accessible to greater Minnesota,” Ebute said. “I have always believed that the Construction Careers Foundation has been, and should be, as a leader in preparing students for apprenticeship opportunities in Minnesota’s building trades and giving young people the tools and resources, they need to make educated decisions about their futures. This role is evidence that we are committed to helping young people create better futures for themselves and their families.”

For youth, educators, apprenticeship candidates and parents interested in building a career in construction connect with Sam Ebute at sam.ebute@constructioncareers.org.

 About the Construction Careers Foundation

The Construction Careers Foundation is a Twin Cities-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 the Minnesota construction industry. To learn more about the Construction Careers Foundation, visit ConstructionCareers.org. The new website and public information awareness campaign is introduced through a collaborative effort between the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Building and Construction Trades Councils, Contractor Associations, the Apprenticeship Coordinators Association of Minnesota, Construct Tomorrow, seven Twin Cities-area public school districts and the Construction Careers Foundation (CCF).