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.
Niki is one of the five African American carpenters from NRCC who will receive the NRCC “Spirit of Service” award for her community service and volunteer efforts. The award will be presented to her at a ceremony on February 24th at the Trenton Masonic Temple.
Niki Sims, member of NRCC Local 253, became a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA) in 2000. Throughout her childhood, Sims built a number of things such as bikes and furniture. Her father, who was also a Union Carpenter, helped influence her decision to consider a lifelong career in carpentry
After looking for a career change in 1999, Sims called the UBCJA International Training Center in Las Vegas to learn more information on how to become a carpenter. From there, Sims began her journey and watched her work flourish throughout New Jersey.
“I like to build structures and being able to look back and say, hey, I built that,” said Sims. “Aside from the great benefits that my job offers, being able to look at structures you built is a benefit in itself.”
Aside from her time of working on active jobs site, such as recently completing the Mahwah Health and Wellness Center in New Jersey, Sims also volunteers with her Union Brothers and Sisters during the weekend. She works with the NRCC Sisters in the Brotherhood Steering Committee and regularly volunteers with the Member Union Participation (MUP) Program.
During Black History Month, Sims reflected on what her ancestors endured to make her life and career what it is today.
“During Black History Month, it’s important that we highlight the accomplishments that African Americans contributed to the American culture,” said Sims. “I wish we could celebrate it every month because we’ve done so much.”