Central Station

The Bay Area's Newest Destination

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Learning Life Skills

A few weeks ago we posted on Stephon Taylor and Reggie Collier, two apprentices from the local area that are actively involved on the construction side of the Pacific Cannery Lofts. The two apprentices impressed us, and now they're both noted on the cover of the Oakland Tribune.

Cecily Burt of the Tribune writes:
"Taylor, 20, an apprentice electrician working for Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers, is one of a handful of local residents who are helping build a variety of residential developments within the large Central Station project in West Oakland — practically in his own backyard.

What makes Taylor's story unique? He learned the basic fundamentals of the construction trades — carpentry, electrical work and plumbing — during a bare-bones, six-week training program run by Bruce Cox in a West Oakland warehouse.

Cox, a contractor and owner of MBC Construction who also helped create a similar construction job training program for the Men of Valor group at Acts Full Gospel Church, said he is determined to give his time, knowledge and energy to help every aimless young person land a good job...

Taylor has been working for Rex Moore electrical contracting for about eight months. Every three months he attends state-licensed electrician apprentice classes in Hayward, a four-year program conducted by the Western Electrical Contractors Association, and he continues to attend twice-weekly training classes conducted by Cox, both to learn new skills and refresh and reinforce the ones he knows.

"I like the people I work with, and I like the fact that I'm going to school (to continue to learn)," Taylor said while pulling wire through framed walls in the Pacific Cannery Lofts project, one of several new residential developments that will cover 29 acres along Wood Street between 12th Street and West Grand Avenue.

Taylor said his co-workers have been helpful.

"Most of the guys I work with are from Sacramento, and they all have country accents," Taylor joked. "I'm teaching them the urban style."

His foreman, Darvin Crawford, said Taylor is a very good worker who has caught on quickly and worked hard to overcome his lack of experience and the lure of the neighborhood.

"I couldn't say a bad thing about him ... He's highly intelligent and picked up the wiring very fast," Crawford said. "He's very young, and he's going to make a lot of mistakes ... but he's a good kid. I told him if he stays with it he'll make $100,000 a year, no problem."

"This is good for Stephon," Cox said after visiting the job site. "He grew up here in West Oakland and he's positioning himself to make big money. I'm happy he keeps coming to class."

Taylor's wide smile showed he's happy things worked out, too. He said he really likes his job at Rex Moore and thinks he's found his niche in electrical work.

A few other of Cox's students also are working on the Central Station developments — with good results so far."

For the full article, click here:


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