Our Mission and History

Building Pathways creates opportunities for low-income area residents, particularly in underserved communities, to access and prepare for building trades apprenticeships and family-sustaining careers in the construction industry. Through apprenticeship preparedness training, outreach to young adults, and advocacy, Building Pathways addresses the need to recruit top talent into the industry while opening career pathways to women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, and transitioning veterans.

The Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program was launched in 2011 by the Building and Construction Trades of the Metropolitan District (MetroBTC), to address the continued disparities in apprenticeship for women, people of color, and other under-served communities. In 2015, MetroBTC led the formation of Building Pathways, Inc., a nonprofit organization that now operates the Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship program.

Building Pathways is a critical partner in building the construction industry’s workforce pipeline. Our pre-apprenticeship training program prepares under-represented, disadvantaged or low-skilled Boston metro area residents to enter a union apprenticeship program - an effective “learn and earn” model with a long history of providing career ladders and pathways to the middle class. Through outreach to area high schools and youth groups, Building Pathways also educates middle and high school students about career opportunities in the building trades.

Complementing our work preparing Boston area residents for successful careers in construction, Building Pathways promotes policies and practices that support Registered Apprenticeship and, in particular, increased access to construction careers for women, people of color, veterans, and people with disabilities.

Through its industry-led, worker-centered, and community-focused approach, Building Pathways has grown into a nationally recognized model for addressing training and inclusivity in the industry, and providing the critical link between greater Boston’s diverse communities and access to family-sustaining careers that empower individuals and strengthen our communities.

Board of Directors

Building Pathways is led by a diverse board of labor and community leaders, activists, and professionals committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive construction workforce.

President/Director Brian Doherty is the General Agent and Secretary/Treasurer of the Boston Building Trades Council of the Metropolitan District (“MetroBTC”), an organization that unites 20 building and construction trade local unions that operate within the Boston area dedicated to improving the standard of living for members and their families. Brian served as Project Coordinator for the Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship program when it was first launched in 2011. He is an 18-year member of Laborers Local 223.

Treasurer/Director Mark Fortune, a Boston native, has been a local labor leader for much of his career in the building trades. A Business Agent for Sprinklerfitters Local 550 for nearly 3 decades and President of MetroBTC for 5 years, Mark has helped to position both his union and the building trades collectively, as leaders in the fight for better wages and working conditions for Massachusetts families.

Clerk/Director John Healy is the Training Coordinator of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, a position he has held since 2007. A strong advocate for promoting apprenticeship training in the industry, John also serves as President of the Building Trades Training Directors Association of Massachusetts and Chair of the Massachusetts State Apprenticeship Council. John has been a member of Local 17 since 1987.

Director Darlene Lombos is the Executive Director of Community Labor United, a nonprofit organization that combines the power of community-based organizations and labor unions to advance the interests of low- and middle-income working families in Massachusetts by promoting quality jobs, secure healthcare, affordable housing, and climate justice. Darlene has 20 years’ experience in community and youth organizing, leadership development and coalition development.

Director Susan Moir is the Director of Research for the Labor Resource Center (LRC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Moir’s research focuses on issues related to low wage workers, women workers, immigrant workers, workforce development and racism. She co-chairs the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues, a regional collaboration of construction industry stakeholders, including tradeswomen, building trades unions, contractors, government representatives, community organizations and researchers, which works to address the under-representation of women in the construction trades to women.

Director Nicole (Nikki) Horberg Decter is a partner in the labor and employment law firm of Segal Roitman LLP, where she advises unions on all aspects of labor-management relations and represents unions in arbitration, litigation and collective bargaining. She also represents individuals in litigation regarding wage-and-hour and discrimination matters. Nikki has served on the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and on the Steering Committee of the Boston Bar Associations’ Labor and Employment Section as the co-chair of its Labor sub-committee.

Director Deborah Hughes has served as the Executive Director of Brookview House, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and services to homeless and at-risk families, since 1993. Deborah serves on the Community Services Advisory Board for MassHousing, on the Board of Directors for Roxbury Community College Foundation, and on the Facilities Advisory Committee for the Children’s Investment fund. She is a founding member of the Dorchester Women’s Safety Network, Transition to Work Collaborative, and Child Resource Specialist Initiative.

Ex Officio Director/Executive Director Mary Vogel has cultivated years of experience administering worker and labor-centered nonprofit organizations. Ms. Vogel helped to launch the Building Pathways program in 2011, and assisted in the formation of similar pre-apprenticeship preparedness programs in the region. She began her professional career as an attorney advising unions and labor-management funds.

Building Pathways Team

The Building Pathways team conducts outreach and recruitment to underserved communities; provides career education, training, support and job placement assistance to our participants; offers technical assistance to apprenticeship programs and other industry stakeholders; and advocates for policies and practices that support a diversified workforce. Our team includes staff from our partner organizations, Action for Boston Community Development and Boston Housing Authority.

Team Directory

Andrew DeAngelo, Building Pathways Project Coordinator, andrew@buildingpathwaysboston.org
Joe Donato, Building Pathways Lead Instructor
Shaun Leonard, ABCD Case Coordinator, shaun.leonard@bostonabcd.org, (617) 483-5708
Azell Martin, BHA Outreach and Recruitment, azell.martin@bostonhousing.org, (617) 988-4091
Mary Vogel, Building Pathways Executive Director, mary@buildingpathwaysboston.org, (617) 238-5292

Partners

Building Pathways is able to pursue its mission of promoting a diverse and inclusive construction workforce through a key partnership with the Boston Building Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, in collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority, Action for Boston Community Development, and the Building Trades Training Directors Association. We rely on the support of our local union affiliates, joint registered apprenticeship programs, and signatory contractors; as well numerous community- and faith-based organizations, the workforce development community, academic institutions, and government agencies, to ensure our success in reaching under-served communities.

And, generous funding from private, public, and individual donors allows us to continue programming and significantly impact the lives of participants we serve offering them access to a family-sustaining career in construction.

Without collaboration, resource sharing, and relationship building, Building Pathways would not be in existence let alone where it is today. Thank You to all those who believe in us and are helping make a difference in the lives of hundreds of individuals and families throughout the city of Boston and surrounding communities!