Editor’s Note: LaborPress is proud to present the 2022 Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Awards for Long Island and New York City on Thursday, June 16, hosted by Teamsters Local 282 in Lake Success, NY. Today, we continue our ongoing series leading up to this year’s gala event introducing each of those fascinating and inspiring award-winners to the wider labor movement.
New York, NY – Kodi Foust, apprentice with New York District Council of Carpenters Local 157, was so determined to get his application for the apprentice program he “camped out on the sidewalk from Friday at 12 o’clock in the afternoon till Monday, six in the morning,” like a Springsteen fan waiting to get a ticket to the show.
And like The Boss, Foust is also a Jersey product — Old Bridge, to be exact, where he still lives and works. The self-described “happily single” twenty-eight year-old says he has worked in carpentry even before getting into the Local 157 program. “I spent a couple of years in college — I got my associates degree — and then in the summertime, anytime I wasn’t in school studying or anything like that, I was working as a carpenter.”
Set to graduate in June of 2022, Foust began his apprenticeship in 2018. Since then he’s garnered a wide range of skills which applies to his work daily. The first, and one of the most important things he’s learned is job safety. It makes sense, since working with potentially dangerous tools comes with the territory. “There’s things that can cut you,” he says, “so you got to make sure the guards are on, you wear the correct PPE. There’s things that could fly off and hit you in places, so you gotta make sure you have glasses on, things like that. [There’s] things that can start fires. So you need to make sure you have somebody in control of that. Fire watch. Sparks. Gloves, thick clothes. Things that can protect your person physically.”
Other fundamentals include “how to put together ceilings, layouts with blueprints. Numbers, how to drywall, cut wood.” Foust says he particularly likes, “to take more of the detailed things, like blueprint reading,” which he says, “is one of the important things that’ll kind of advance you in your career.” In fact, he hopes in the future, he’ll be able to focus on that aspect of the trade, along with working in a managerial position.
Foust has already proved himself at his apprenticeship. He took first place in General Carpentry in the competition held by the NYDCC Training Center, despite competing with a broken hand.
When asked if he feels like the average person appreciates the work that he and his fellow carpenters do, Foust answers, “Sometimes I feel like they might think construction is more of an inconvenience…[things] blocking the sidewalks or just kind of getting in the way of traffic, things like that. But at the same time, I think they do appreciate walking into a new workplace and seeing a nice new ceiling or seeing a nice looking lobby or anything like that, and at the end of the day, I think that work doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Foust’s biggest challenge, he says, is “getting up in the morning,” a statement which is understandable given the early rising times required for work. “When I’m working in the city, I’m commuting at like 4:15 [a.m.] I’m waking up and catching sometimes a 4:45 [a.m.] bus or a 5:01[a.m.] train. Yeah, definitely, definitely waking up.”
Meanwhile, something he does like, is his favorite interest outside of his job, “I like to travel. I’ve been to a lot of places: Santorini, Greece. Dubai, the Maldives, Turks and Caicos, St Thomas, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Switzerland – do you want me to go on?”