The Building Union Diversity (BUD) program started in 2014 and has since built a successful track record of connecting St. Louis metropolitan residents with the growing opportunities for living wage employment in construction. BUD is also helping to address the growing need in the construction industry for a skilled and more inclusive workforce.


of those that begin the BUD Program complete their training and graduate.


of graduates are employed through a Registered Apprenticship Program in the construction trades within 6 months of completing BUD.


In an industry where only 6% of the workforce is comprised of minorities and women…


of BUD graduates are women.


of BUD graduates are minority.

About BUD

The Building Union Diversity (BUD) program is a six-week union construction pre-apprenticeship program, offered at no charge to selected individuals who meet the admission requirements. Recognized as a comprehensive apprenticeship readiness program (ARP) by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), BUD offers enrollees a comprehensive introduction to construction employment by using NABTU’s nationally recognized Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) providing relevant national skills certification training, with a particular focus on job safety. (To learn more about NABTU’s MC3 curriculum, please visit During the program, participants will also have the opportunity to visit and engage in hands-on learning at several apprenticeship training schools.

The construction training team includes, among others:

  • Bricklayers Local 1 Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council Apprenticeship Program
  • Construction Craft Laborers Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Iron Workers Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Operating Engineers Local 513 Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Plumbers & Pipefitters Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Sheet Metal Workers Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Cement Masons Joint Apprenticeship Training Program
  • Floor Layers Joint Apprenticeship Program

Upcoming BUD Classes

  • April 17th - Friday, May 26th, 2023
  • July 10th - Friday, August 18th, 2023
  • September 25th - November 3rd, 2023

Participant Requirements

BUD participants must meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Eligible to work in the United States
  • Meet Military Selective Service Requirements (if applicable)

Preferred Credentials

We are looking for candidates that can meet these credentials:

  • WorkKeys Applied Math: Level 5
  • WorkKeys Workplace Documents: Level 5
  • Pass a drug test
  • High School Diploma or equivalent

Program Benefits

In addition to the free construction training, BUD also offers supportive services to participants including:

  • Transportation to the training centers from a central location.
  • Bus passes
  • $100 weekly stipend during the training.
  • Safety equipment (boots, helmet, glasses)
  • Work clothing (pants and shirts)
  • A $150 tool allowance once indentured to an apprentice program
  • Discretionary support funding through the United Way.
  • Access to mentoring after the program from experienced construction trade members
  • Short-term transportation assistance after graduation

For more information, please contact:

Aurora Bihler

Building Union Diversity (BUD) STL Program Coordinator


Pat Dolan

BUD STL Program Facilitator

Tracy Hykes

BUD High School Coordinator

Harriett Holt
BUD Mentor and Facilitator


Building Successful Careers

  • Previously Unemployed

    40% of participants were unemployed before enrolling in the BUD Program

  • Graduation Rate

    91% of individuals that enrolled in the BUD Program completed the program and graduated.

  • Employed After Graduation

    82% of program participants have secured a job in the construction trades within 6 months of completing the program.

  • Minority Participants

    80% of those that enrolled in the BUD Program were minorities.

  • Women Participants

    24% of those that enrolled in the BUD Program were women.

  • Veteran Participants

    6% of those that enrolled in the BUD Program were veterans.

*Stats as of July 2020

Hear from the Graduates

“The BUD Program changed my life. It has put me in a great position career-wise. I highly recommend this program.”

“When I started it I was struggling to find any work and I was a homeless single mother. Today I have a career and make good money and am able to provide very well for my family. None of that would have happened without BUD.”

“This program changed my life for the better. I reach out to young teens to explore this
program because it is an excellent opportunity to better yourself with a career and an overall
experience with people who care about your future well being.”