After working a series of odd jobs upon graduating college with a degree in business administration, Miles Blaney couldn’t escape the feeling that he hadn’t found his true path.

It wasn’t until he took on a job on a small residential construction site that he realized he loved working with his hands to build things that he could be proud of. That got him thinking, but it really wasn’t until he ran into a friend who was getting apprentice training that he realized how much better it was to be in the carpenter’s union.

“The training is just something that I’m so grateful for because when I started I had little to no idea what to do in construction. And now I consider myself to be a great carpenter,” Blaney told LaboPress.

Blaney recently distinguished himself when he took home the annual Golden Hammer awards that the New York City District Council of Carpenters uses to test the mettle of its graduating apprentices. But it was before that moment of triumph that Blaney gradually proved himself to be a valuable member of the trade. It was a good sign that he continued to work for one construction company for the entirety of his training. Companies often look for agreeable, hard workers to keep on.

Blaney said that one of the most important things he’s learned throughout his apprenticeship is how the environment that his union provided on the worksite can really foster a sense of appreciation and genuine enjoyment of the work.

“When you run into union members on the job who always have a good attitude, who are taking pride in their work, bringing other people up with them — working for the team that really just changes the whole attitude of everybody on the job,” Blaney said.

During his apprenticeship he’s worked mostly commercial construction sites including the

MetLife building, Chanel and the office building at 601 Lexington Avenue. When his crew arrives at a building, the floor has usually been demolished for them to begin building up. They establish access lines, lay out all the walls and ceilings and then start framing.

Blaney said he really enjoys engineering challenges like curved surfaces and decorative ceilings — detail-oriented work that allows him to flex his skill.

Throughout the course of the four-year program, Blaney also became more involved with the union. When he went to the apprentice trip in Las Vegas, he learned more about what the union stands for, took more pride in it and started going to more meetings.

“I’m really just very thankful of what the union has provided for me. It’s like the members before me — they’re kind of looking out for me, whether it be the guys at the company or instructors at the school, and so there’s like this pay-it-forward attitude good union members have that I really resonate with,” Blaney said.

For those interested in the trades, Blaney said that the best advice is just to be patient and keep up a positive outlook.

“If you can show up with a good attitude, show up on time, and put in good effort every day, like, I have no doubt that you will succeed in this industry,” he said.

Miles Blaney, Local 157


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