Katurah Holness

Katurah Holiness in Springfield, Mass., on Thursday, December 21, 2017 (Photo by Ellen Webber/NERCC).

Prior to becoming an apprentice carpenter, Katurah was driving for Uber and homeless. She was couch surfing, living with different friends and family, and trying to pay as many of her bills as she could afford. She had spent over five years in the Air Force at Westover, but after she left the service, she struggled to find steady work. Katurah heard about the trades by giving an Uber ride to a union carpenter. He suggested she consider becoming a carpenter. Right after dropping off that ride, Katurah drove straight to the union hall and found out how to apply. Several months later, she was approved to become an apprentice and got hired on an MGM job. By the time she started as a carpenter, Katurah no longer had a car and she was living 20 miles away in Northampton at a Veteran’s shelter. The union connected her to members living in Northampton. They, and some of the other women who lived at the shelter, helped her get to work. Steady work at the union apprentice rate enabled her to save, pay off some of her debts, and eventually move to an apartment in Springfield and get a car.

I was in the military so I don’t mind hard work and working with a lot of men. I like working with my hands, learning carpentry, and developing skills that can make me financially stable and help me build a good life for myself.

2nd year apprentice Carpenter, member since 2017