Job seekers sleep on Manhattan street

Job seekers sleep on Manhattan street to apply for carpenters' union training program

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hundreds of men hunting for work spent several nights on a Manhattan street, lining up Sunday for a chance to get into a carpenters' union training program.

Some brought sleeping bags, tents, lawn chairs and coolers to fill out applications starting Monday at 9 a.m. Others used just cardboard as a mat.

But they were all aiming for the same thing: one of 750 spots being offered by the New York District Council of Carpenters at its lower Manhattan office.

First in line was Nicholas Foreman, 39, of Brooklyn, who'd been standing and waiting for almost a week.

"It feels awesome," he said. "I came early because I really want the job, and I'm very dedicated."

Living on the street, with cars roaring by day and night, he added, "is rough, but it's going to pay off."

James Kavanagh apologized for his "scratchy" voice after spending days outdoors.

"You want some job security; if you're not going to be a doctor or a scientist, you can't beat this," said Kavanagh, 39, a Bronx native. "I don't mind sleeping in the street for a week — as long as it keeps me out of the streets forever."

Once working, a fully trained union member can earn as much as $99 an hour, with benefits. An apprentice earns far less, depending on the job.

Union spokesperson Kwame Patterson said some people will get training spots right away. Others will be called later.

A few of the men in line already had jobs, but were looking for better ones with benefits like health insurance.

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AP Radio correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this report.

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Follow Verena Dobnik at http://twitter.com/VerenaChirps

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