Donesha Rodgers, 20, of St. Louis has joined minority-owned Square UP Builders as the first St. Louis Job Corps/IUPAT Pre-Apprentice.


The direct referral program was recently introduced by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and St. Louis Job Corps to give individuals training and help them determine if a specific trade or company is the right fit for them. Companies benefit by receiving feedback on participants’ training and work ethics from the instructor.


Upon completing the program this summer, Rodgers will join Square UP as a first-term apprentice in their Drywall and Taping division. Square UP launched its new drywall division a year ago and only recently added taping to its existing drywall operations, which also includes tape-only proposals and selective painting. Signing the painters/tapers agreement in November 2018, Square UP Drywall and Taping is an MBE-certified contractor providing minority boots on the ground.


“This dynamic program will allow both organizations to train the right person for the right task. Over the next 90 days, Donesha will receive hands-on work and safety training on how to tape and paint, as well as get a full understanding of the trade and the requirements for the position of taper,” said Paul Renaud, General Manager of Square UP Builders.


Applicants to the program must be 18-24 years old and have a high school diploma/GED and a letter of intent from the hiring contractor. Qualified individuals are placed in the program where they learn how to brush and roll, spray, patch and repair, tape and apply vinyl wallcoverings. For completing the program, the individual receives a $500.00 check, trade uniforms and a bag with tools. Participants are required to remain in the program for a minimum of 60 days. Participants can also receive safety certifications such as OSHA 30, Respiratory Fit Test Card, Forklift Certification, Ariel Lift Training, and other safety training.


Candice Rejmenczak, IUPAT Job Corps Trade Instructor, says the new fast-track program is laser focused on helping young people get the training they need to find a good job quickly.


“We encourage other companies to use our program. If they find a good student who is interested in construction and would be a good fit for the program and is willing to work harder and faster to achieve their goals, we will try to find them a job and get them the training they need,” said Rejmenczak. “Being the first company to participate in the program, Square UP has exhibited great intentions of trying to help young minorities who are looking for a chance to find a good career. Square UP is willing and patient and has come to us with open arms.”