SWRCC President Pete Rodriguez Offers Life Skills Advice to Foster Kids

Union Carpenters don’t just build communities, we support the people in them.

Last week, SWRCC President/COO (and proud member of Local 951) Pete Rodriguez did just that when he participated in “mock interviews” as a part of The Kamali’i Foster Family Agency’s (KFFA) essential skills classes.

The statistics for foster kids in the US are dire. After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless. There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life. And only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24. Which is why when KFFA reached out to the Southwest Carpenters for a leader who could help give these kids a leg up when they age out of the system, President Rodriguez answered the call.

“It sounds cliche, but I learned as much from these kids as they did from me,” said Rodriguez after the event, where he offered them career advice such as “Good attitude goes a long way,” and “To be a good leader, you have to know how to follow.”

Pete continued, “Being with these kids made me realize how fortunate we, as Union Carpenters, really are.”

The mock interviews are one of many classes offered by KFFA, which cover essential topics such as obtaining important documents, career building, budgeting, AB-12 status information, maintaining mental and physical health, post-high school education and employment options, emancipation planning, and on-going support.

And thanks to this amazing program, and community partners like the Southwest Carpenters, KFFA is able to beat the statistics. A total of 88% of its participants have graduated from high school, with 86% enrolling in vocational or post-secondary school. And 100% of KFFA’s college participants have successfully completed their first or second year in college and will continue to work toward obtaining a certificate or degree.

Learn more about KFFA here.