3H Intro to Pre-Apprenticeship
The Pathway Back to Restoring the Dignity of Labor
Learning a skill or trade was once a type of rite of passage that allowed young people to begin to identify their purpose, abilities and potentials. However, labor is no longer a cultural RITE, that reminds individuals of their responsibility to their community to build future legacy. Labor has transitioned into something that is often shunned and avoided in order to show the height of one’s social status. Labor was intended to sustain and revitalize the cultural fabric of community as well as provide products and profits that do not compromise the needs of future generations. This concept was best described by Booker T. Washington almost 120 years ago in his book Up from Slavery when he stated: "We've lost the dignity of labor."
The disconnection from the meaning of ‘dignity of labor’ was further reinforced through the tension between knowledge systems - Indigenous and Western. Indigenous knowledge systems involve synergistic cultural customs that help maintain cohesive communities; while, Western knowledge systems consist of individualistic scientific practices that often do not prioritize effects to people or the environment. These knowledge systems should work together interdependently instead of working against one another.
This conflict has had a crippling effect on young people’s prospects for professional pursuits. For the first time, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is reporting that there are approximately two million jobs unable to be filled because of a lack of qualified skilled-trade workers.
Maslow's theory on the Hierarchy of Needs shows a framework toward restoring the dignity of labor through an apprenticeship model. This model assists youth with learning to meet their own basic needs of developing a priority to care for themselves and others as well as developing the ability to see and achieve their full potentials.
Restoring pathways of dignity back into labor requires that individuals take ownership and responsibility for building an inheritance for themselves and for their communities without harming the environment. This concept is known as Ubuntu, an indigenous South African philosophy. It is an isiZulu term which means ‘I am because we are’. Ubuntu highlights the symbiotic relationship between people, their livelihoods and their ecosystems; which involves solving local issues, while not compromising the needs of future generations. Parents, teachers, mentors and leaders should seize opportunities to capitalize on making positive impacts into the lives of youth by redefining the current paradigm of labor.
Through Harmonic Connection PLUS’s 3H Pre-Apprenticeship, youth (12yrs to 17yrs old) are trained to effectively work in balance with all of the tools available to them: their head (knowledge), their hands (skills) and their heart (connection to others) as a way to construct a solid reinforced foundation, which will enable them to build and connect into the global community with a purpose that is larger than themselves. It is hands-on and online training in basic safety and construction skilled trade work. HC+ aims to use 3H Pre-Apprenticeship workshops to create pathways of dignity back into labor as a way to positively influence America’s workforce labor crisis.
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Eugene Mason III, MBA is the Co-founder of Harmonic Connections Plus (HC+) and the developer of the 3H Pre-Apprenticeship training model. Eugene has more than 20 years of experience in construction supervision involving on-site project management, project scheduling, quality/safety compliance, plans/specifications, conducting project team meetings, and providing creative solutions to field-related issues. He has extensive experience in construction supervision of corporate interiors and new construction commercial & townhome projects in the greater Chicagoland area as well as retail, and medical facility renovations. Eugene has been commended for his excellent communication skills essential in managing subcontractors and related personnel for the functioning of a well-organized unit, while creating a highly productive and safe work environment and publishing relevant information for design professionals and stakeholders to make critical/timely decisions. Eugene holds a wide array of knowledge and experience in architecture, construction and remodeling that lends to a multi-faceted awareness of the sustainable construction/building process.