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aQuiRe Construction Academy's Inaugural Graduates Hitting the Workforce with Confidence

graduation 1

Over the years, aQuiRe has empowered thousands of workers with indispensable skills. Recently, on May 4th, we celebrated yet another milestone as 62 aspiring workers graduated from the inaugural class of the aQuiRe Construction Academy, poised to enter the workforce with confidence.

For Buffalo native Jeremiah Ha-Sidi, the academy served as a transformative opportunity. Just a few months earlier following a period of incarceration, Jeremiah was facing a pivotal crossroads. "In simple terms, I was feeling hopeless. Everything I had worked so hard for was taken away just like a snap. When I was released from jail I couldn’t get a job anywhere. No one would give me a chance."

When introduced to the aQuiRe Construction Academy by his probation officer, Jeremiah saw an opportunity for a fresh start. Over eight weeks, he and his fellow participants accumulated nearly 150 hours of construction training. This unique hybrid program includes hands-on learning under experienced Academy instructors and access to aQuiRe’s esteemed digital training platform.

Carley with participants in yard

Jermain Larkin, another graduate, echoed Jeremiah's sentiments, expressing newfound confidence and gratitude for the opportunities afforded. "This was a wonderful program. Got my OSHA 10 certification. Got my flagger certification. Got training in the forklift and aerial lift. And I got to meet people I’d never thought I’d get a chance to meet."

At the graduation ceremony, industry leaders, including William H. Lane Project Executive Christopher Gehm, imparted invaluable advice to the graduates. “Be a sponge. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone in this room has made mistakes. We all come from adversity, or what I call opportunities. An opportunity to showcase your talents to whoever is around you. To be a leader.”

This message resonated deeply with participants like Lizziey Hauser, who emphasized the sense of camaraderie and support fostered within the academy. "There are a lot of opportunities available. We all come together like family. Great coaches. They tell you how it is, what it’s going to be like. But they also treat you with respect. I love it."

Chris and Jeremiah at graduation

For Jeremiah, who now enjoys steady work as a cement finisher’s apprentice on the Buffalo Bills Stadium project, the academy provided more than just technical skills—it instilled a renewed sense of purpose and confidence. "I received a lot of support from my peers to the teachers themselves. Never heard anything negative. They told me to imagine what I can accomplish in the months and years ahead. I put my head down. Did the work. Did it well. Next thing you know, I got hired."

“Jeremiah’s got a good attitude. He’s being shown the right way and he wants to learn. We’ve got to give people a chance to succeed.” says Don Capitano, an instructor from the Concrete Masons Local 111. Through the Academy, Don was able to identify the quality candidate he was looking for.

“The trades need to continually recruit new people. These kids, they’ve got to take it over. The problem is we don’t often know where they are coming from and half of them don’t make it. Here we can find good people we know will be here for a while.”

Jeremiah grinding concrete

With a steadfast commitment to personal growth, these graduates embody the spirit of resilience and determination fostered by the aQuiRe Construction Academy, which is already training the next group of participants for the summer cohort.

Looking to recruit dedicated new construction professionals like these to your team? Contact Jennifer Materese at (716) 803-9544.