How Philadelphia Union carpenters crafted the Governor's inaugural podium

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Friday, January 20, 2023
How Philadelphia Union carpenters crafted the Governor's podium
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Steven Young and his apprentices designed and built a special request for Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I was 11, 12 years old when I started doing carpentry," said Steven Young. "When I was 18 years old, I came here right in Northeast Philadelphia with my diploma in hand, signed up for a four-year apprenticeship program."

Young is now a teacher for that very program with the Carpenters JAC of Philadelphia. There, he typically teaches cabinet-making. But he and his team of apprentices answered the call just a few weeks ago when a special request came in.

"I received an email from the governor's office. The email was a request for a custom-made podium," said Young, "Requesting that the podium be Union-made and I thought that would be an excellent fit."

Young and his apprentices used state-of-the-art computer technology to craft each part of the podium. Then, assembly and finishing followed.

4th-year apprentice Ethan Mintz led the job of translating a graphic of the Pennsylvania State Flag into a wood-carved seal.

"You see all these machines come out every year that are more and more computer based," said Mintz. "And it's important for us to learn that stuff so that we have a future in the trade."

It was a special experience for Mintz to see his work on television, since he typically doesn't get to see the finished installation of his work once it leaves the shop.

"To actually see, like, a recognition of something that we had just worked on, like, the week before, it's very rewarding," he said.

Since Governor Shapiro recognized the podium's builders in his speech, Young hopes that it will expose more people to the opportunities in the local unions.

"I would hope it kind of sends a message that an apprentice program like here is a very viable avenue to pursue," he said. It could be something that you can do for a period of 30 years and you can be very successful."

To learn more about opportunities with the Carpenters JAC of Philadelphia, visit their website.

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