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January 12, 2016

Saudia Khan, Labor Center Student and IBEW Local 3 Apprentice Honored

Saudia Khan at the college's 2015 Student Academic Conference. Photo/Empire State College
Saudia Khan at the college's 2015 Student Academic Conference. Photo/Empire State College

Saudia Khan, an apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 and a student learning at the SUNY Empire State College Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, has been recognized by The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills for volunteering to inform graduating seniors at her former high school about the initiative.

“Receiving this award is such a blessing to me and definitely another step forward in my life and career,” said Khan. “The construction skills program was a major change in my life and a great experience. The program started to shape me into the young adult I am today in the building trades. It taught me more about respect and my work ethic.”

Khan first became interested in becoming an electrician with local 3 in 2011, her senior year at the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture (CTEA) in Ozone Park, Queens, N.Y., while taking a class on electrical-mechanical construction with Stephen Flynn ‘85.

Flynn encouraged Khan to apply to the construction skills program, a pre-apprenticeship program dedicated to preparing a trained and skilled workforce for careers in the unionized construction industry. The program strives to draw participants from diverse communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

“Saudia was a leader among her classmates and had a forward-thinking attitude,” said Flynn, who also completed his associate degree with the college as a local 3 apprentice. Today, he is a journeyman electrician and has been an adjunct member of the Labor Center faculty since 2007. Today Flynn also coordinates the college's program with UA Plumbers Local 1 in Long Island City, where he coordinates the college's course in U.S. history and is a part-time student mentor. “She constructed some very challenging electrical projects and showed an interest pursuing electrical work after high school. She was intrigued by local 3 and did her own research on its membership.”

As a result of her successful completion of the construction skills program, Khan entered the local 3 apprentice program right after graduating high school and continues to return to CTEA to spend time with current students. Khan also keeps in touch with her former teacher.

“After completing the 10 weeks of class work and three weeks of on-the-job training, I had the opportunity to take the local 3 aptitude test,” said Khan. “Within two weeks, I received a life-changing phone call. Then, as a young person apprenticing with local 3, there were many life choices I had to make: Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life, or is it something I should do? More and more during the next four years with the union, where I struggled and succeeded, I realized it was not a bad choice at all and I am a very proud union member. I am looking forward to the future and the success that is waiting for me.”

“I am very proud Saudia was recognized by the construction skills initiative,” said Flynn. “She is a very active member of the local 3 community and a terrific person.”

The partnership with the Labor Center and local 3 dates to the college’s founding in 1971. Local 3 apprentices are required to complete an associate degree with the college as part of their training and education.

Khan was recognized for her achievements in the Local 3 apprenticeship program in October 2015, during the annual Building Futures Award Reception held in New York City, which honors the unionized construction industry’s commitment to opportunity, diversity and results.

Founded as Construction Skills 2000, The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills is supported and endorsed by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, and was re-named for its founder in 2006 in recognition of his contributions to the organization and to the unionized construction industry.

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