During this year’s Black History Month, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters is highlighting notable African American carpenters who stand out among their fellow Union Brothers and Sisters through volunteering and making a difference within their local communities.
Curtis Michael Banks, a 36-year-old Maryland resident and carpenter for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters’ (NRCC) Local 173 in Delaware, joined the union five years ago because he wanted a career that offered him the chance to give back and an opportunity for professional growth. After landing his first job on the non-union side of labor, Curtis was recommended by his employer to the NRCC.
Since joining the union, Banks has quickly excelled in his career. Upon his return from the annual 300 Hitters conference in Las Vegas, Curtis has continually has placed great emphasis on teaching and mentoring others. He consistently makes an effort to mentor apprentice carpenters on his job sites and teaches them how to work with dignity and respect while ensuring they learn their craft effectively.
“Whenever I have young men or women just starting out in the field, I always let them know that I’m here if they have any questions or concerns,” said Banks. “I want to teach them how to do things the ‘right way,’ not just as carpenters, but as people too. It’s very fulfilling to see how excited they become after completing a project using the knowledge they’ve learned.”
After joining the Union, Curtis felt like he had the power to pave his own way in life, highlighting the Union’s alluring benefits and wages that help him and his family live a quality lives with a secure future.
“If you care about your work and put in the time, you truly can set yourself up for a very successful career,” said the journeyman carpenter. “I’ve held leadership positions on construction jobs for several companies prior to joining the union carpenters, but none of them provided the recognition and appreciation of the work you put in like with the Carpenters Union.”
When Curtis isn’t working or mentoring, he volunteers his time to give back to his community. On Saturday mornings, Curtis and his family help to donate food to less fortunate families, often packing and delivering food to different neighborhoods throughout Maryland to assist strangers that are struggling to put food on the table.
“Because of important figures like Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, we are able to look back at leaders in history and dissect how we all can become leaders within our own communities,” said Curtis. “I believe Black History Month is important because it offers us the chance as African Americans and people to reflect on how we all intermingle in our society. We all have the opportunity to progress in our careers and do everything in our power to better ourselves and others.”