Building Union Diversity Program Marks 29th Season of Graduates

A total of 17 pre-apprentices have graduated from the Building Union Diversity (BUD) program, opening doors to good-paying union construction careers in the St. Louis area.

Taking part in the May 26 ceremony at the IBEW Local 1 hall were Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Merri Berry, graduates Tamike Meredith, Breyonna Breeland, Eric Brooks, Bao-Phuc Tran, Avaugna Tate, Dion Woodard II, Rian Echoles, Trevor Jackson, Naeem Farr and BUD Program Coordinator Aurora Bihler, and (back row from left) Missouri AFL-CIO President Jake Hummel, Deandre Hunt, Gerardo Luna, Brandon Wade, Anne Blankenship, DaRon Johnson, Fen Hackfeld, Moshe Holmes and Missouri Works Initiative Director of Operations Amy Phillips. Graduate Cari Mulvihill was not present.

The six-week program was created in 2014 by the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council as a recruitment tool to encourage more minorities and women to get into the union building trades. Today, the award-winning program is operated by the Missouri AFL-CIO’s Missouri Works Initiative and touts a 92 percent graduation rate. For more information, visit

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