By Pauleen Le

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota’s construction workforce has become 35 members stronger and more diverse.

Thursday marked graduation day for a group of students who’ve completed a special program designed to get them ready for a career in the building and construction field.

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The ceremony took place at North Hennepin Community College.

The graduates are a part of the state’s Building Stronger Communities Apprenticeship Preparatory Program that’s free and geared towards women, communities of color, and veterans.

They spent 12 weeks completing course work and receiving hands on experience about the ins and outs of the field from 15 participating trade unions.

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Graduates say they’ve learned valuable life skills and so much more.

“Emotional intelligence,” said graduate Delmarie Nelson. “Teaching us how to restructure our thoughts, [and] to know how to work under pressure. [It’s an opportunity] to try and do something that will benefit you and your family for the long term.”

The next step for the graduates is securing an apprenticeship. Half of the graduating class has already done so.

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For more information on the program, click here.

Pauleen Le