CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Youth Force
Building a future

By Aunie Edwards
Special to the Toronto Sun

Joe Iannuzzi faces his future with the enthusiasm of his generation and the confidence of a balanced, predetermined set of goals.

Those goals are housed within the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a provincially sponsored collaboration that allows students to apprentice in a skilled trade with industry professionals, while earning high school credits.
OYAP student Joe Iannuzzi is a carpenter apprentice at Panigas Interior Construction.

The York Catholic District School Board is a strong partner of OYAP, and as a student of Holy Cross Catholic Academy, Iannuzzi has signed on as an OYAP-sponsored carpenter apprentice.

"I knew what my goals were, but I had no plan to achieve them," Iannuzzi says. "My teacher introduced me to Local 27 Carpenters Training Centre and the benefits of OYAP and I've been enjoying my apprenticeship ever since."

Iannuzzi spent the last semester achieving his Level 1 apprenticeship at Local 27.

"Joe was required to complete a three-week in-class pre-placement course," says Rosanna D'Ambrosi, co-op teacher at Holy Cross C.A. "We provide safety instruction -- which is followed up in great detail at Local 27. We also give kids a look at the work environment -- they need to be prepared for the differences."

With a formal introduction and his teacher's personal monitoring throughout, Iannuzzi has enjoyed a smooth transition between high school, post-secondary learning and the working world. "After an eight-week session at Local 27, I was sent to a contractor to start applying my skills," Iannuzzi says. "As a Level 1 apprentice, I'm being paid for work that I really like."

His enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed. "Joe's been doing a terrific job," D'Ambrosi says. "His employer is extremely pleased with his work ethic, ability and eagerness to learn."

That employer is Panigas Interior Construction and Store Fixturing Limited, a commercial and industrial contractor that fully supports Iannuzzi's apprenticeship.

As he learns by doing, Iannuzzi is simultaneously banking apprentice hours toward his second of three levels of in-class training and eventual certification as a carpenter.

"After he accumulates a pre-determined number of hours, Joe can advance to Level 2 training," D'Ambrosi says. "The beauty of OYAP is that Joe has a ministry consultant assigned to his goals who will contact him at stages throughout his apprenticeship. Ultimate success still rests with the student, but providing post-secondary guidance is one way that OYAP helps protect the future of these kids."
  • This is a jointly trusted labour-management training facility.
  • Serving the Local Union 27 membership and its employers, the training centre offers a variety of carpentry-related programs.
  • The facility is located in Weston, Ont., and offers approximately 54,000 square feet of both practical training and theory. With a 33,000-square-foot fully equipped carpentry workshop, apprentices and journey-persons receive state of the art training on full-scale projects.
  • To learn more, call 416-749-7440 or visit the website:

  • Assistance is also financial. "OYAP covered the price of my tools and my training course," Iannuzzi says. "Not every high school student has the funds, so this opens doors for a lot of kids."

    Removing expenses helps the students focus strictly on the learning. "Local 27 is a pretty intense training facility -- they provide in-class instruction, practical training and homework assignments before they match the kids to affiliated contractors for the work placements," D'Ambrosi says. "It's no picnic, but Joe is a determined kid."

    With a full-time summer position at Panigas, an established relationship at Local 27, a June graduation from high school and a substantial head start toward his carpenter certification, it is no wonder that Joe Iannuzzi faces his future with the confidence of man already familiar with success.

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