One Treasure Island x Dunn-Edwards Paints: Creating Opportunities One Gallon at a Time
03/11/2023 | dunnedwards |
Dunn-Edwards Paints partners with Northern California non-profit, One Treasure Island, to give people a second chance with the skills training and essential tools of the trade that employers require.
Dunn-Edwards Paints is proud to continue its legacy of partnering with domestic non-profits that serve underprivileged people to create meaningful avenues for support, growth, and development. Specific to Northern California, the company works closely with non-profits, such as Tradeswomen, One Treasure Island, and Rising Sun, in order to provide people in need of a second chance with paint application and product training to prepare them to easily step into the painting trade.
Sylvia Flores, Dunn-Edwards General Sales Manager, oversees company sales in the Northern California and Nevada region. While identifying methods to directly increase value to painting contractors who are Dunn-Edwards account holders and remove general business pains, Flores noticed a consistent issue across the painting industry: a widespread labor shortage.
One day while she was with a large painting contractor company, Flores noticed a photo of a group of all women painters. The manager explained to Flores that his sister was working closely with a local women’s shelter, where women would go to escape abuse, family issues, or unideal situations. She was able to get these women painting jobs at her brother’s company to help get them back on their feet. Although it was recognized how well the women performed on the job, the manager noticed that they took a day and a half longer than average to complete projects. However, their work was so meticulous that they never needed to go back to correct errors. When painters are required to go back to a jobsite to fix mistakes, it usually takes three and a half days, so this female paint crew was ultimately saving the company time and money while providing essential labor.
After hearing this story, Flores was excited and thought: how can Dunn-Edwards serve people in a meaningful way like this… on a larger scale? The opportunity for these women to step into these positions on paint crews was helping relieve the labor shortage that was holding back painting contractor companies. Plus, Flores was happy to see women thriving in a usually male-dominated field, “I’ve always been a big activist for women rights and opportunities.”
Flores set out to find the right partner for Dunn-Edwards to get involved in something similar. After a lot of searching and several phone calls, Flores found Tradeswomen, a California organization dedicated to assisting women with getting jobs in the trades, offering resources, program opportunities with its partners, and more. After Dunn-Edwards became an official partner with the organization, Tradeswomen connected Dunn-Edwards with One Treasure Island (OTI).
OTI is a small non-profit organization based on Treasure Island in Northern California. The organization focuses on creating an inclusive community; low-income households and individuals who are or have been homeless are at the center of OTI’s mission. Along with a weekly food pantry and community engagement, OTI offers financial classes, tax preparation, a construction training program, and more in an effort to create stability and opportunities for community members. OTI even refers people to other organizations within the community who can better serve them when OTI doesn’t offer what they are looking for.
Jamie Brewster, Employment Programs Director at OTI, works closely with Dunn-Edwards and oversees the construction training program that Dunn-Edwards has partnered on. As a person who has overcome troubles himself, Brewster is passionately dedicated to helping young people stay out of trouble and find their career paths. After joining OTI over a year ago, Brewster noticed the program’s lack of hands-on experiences for participants. From teaching participants about entrance into trade unions and helping them with job applications, to covering union fees and providing them with basic necessities, like boots and tools, OTI was offering a wide range of resources for participants, but the actual teachings were theoretical. With a solid background in construction training programs, Brewster was inspired to create more application trainings, “If they never pick up a paint brush, what are we doing?” Now with its industry partnership with Dunn-Edwards, OTI’s program has three days dedicated to hands-on paint training. Dunn-Edwards provides the paint, supplies, and instructors for this portion of the training.
Brewster finds OTI’s partnership with Dunn-Edwards to be an immense value to the community. “It’s just beautiful,” Brewster enthusiastically explains. Once participants have completed the 8-week construction training program, OTI follows up at 30-, 60-, 90-, and 180-day intervals to check on the participants, find out if they have been able to maintain the job OTI helped them secure, and re-engage them if they’re struggling or need more service.
One program graduate, Melissa B, originally approached OTI unsure of what she wanted to pursue. As a single mom with two kids, she worked hard to complete the construction training program. She then secured a job after listening to one of OTI’s guest speakers from United Site Services, a leading provider of porta potty, fencing, and barrier rentals. She accepted a job with the company as an entry level porta potty cleaner, and with her “go-getter” diligence, her leadership potential was quickly recognized. Within three weeks, she rose to management. Melissa has had a full circle moment, as she now has been a guest speaker at multiple OTI events. Going from where she was to where she is now, one thing Melissa is grateful for is to be able to afford to give her 15-year-old son spending money on the weekends.
“That’s really what we’re all about here at One TI, is taking people and helping elevate them from point A to point B. And hopefully somewhere between those two levels, there’s a financial increase in their lifestyle,” Brewster says about success stories from OTI participants. With the partnership between OTI and Dunn-Edwards, Brewster sees a future of expanded job opportunities for all program participants.
Both OTI and Dunn-Edwards anticipate more success stories, especially those that will result in painting jobs with the recent addition of paint training to the construction training program. With the high costs that often come with many trades, the implementation of paint training into the program is opening job opportunities that are much more accessible for low-income participants, as painting is among one of the less expensive trades to work in. “You just need a brush, the skillset, and some work pants,” Flores explains.
Along with successfully connecting Dunn-Edwards more directly with the community, one of Flores’ initial goals of lightening the weight of labor shortage for Dunn-Edwards customers is well on its way to being fulfilled. “You’ve got a labor shortage? Well, we’ve got an answer for you,” she eagerly says. “There’s a whole set of people out there that are untapped and are looking to change their lifestyle that, unfortunately, they have been in for so long. And they need a chance.” Dunn-Edwards is part of that solution.
Additional to the necessary basic paint training, Dunn-Edwards brings space for individual creative expression and confidence building to OTI’s construction training program. “They can dream, and plan for a future of self-reliance,” says Flores, who has played an integral role in the development of Dunn-Edwards partnerships with both Tradeswomen and One Treasure Island. So far, three cohorts have completed the program with OTI and Dunn-Edwards, and three more are set to complete it in 2023.
For more about One Treasure Island, visit www.onetreasureisland.org.