What could be better than learning about concrete by working hands-on with it on an island in San Francisco Bay? That's the experience a group of young people is having this fall on Alcatraz Island under the direction of Tanya Komas, executive director of the Concrete Preservation Institute. She recently sent me the following letter about the current group of CPI graduates.

Dear Bill,

Since you were so kind to write about our Concrete Preservation Institute at Alcatraz a few months ago, I thought it would be fun to update you on how things are going as the CPI Fall Session comes to an end. We have an awesome group of military veterans and students who have come together as a team and learned a tremendous amount that will propel them into concrete and construction industry jobs or related college programs once they leave the Island later this month. Along with the knowledge and skills they have gained through our 12-week Field School program, which are applicable in any sector of the industry, they now have a passion for the industry that all of us who are already in it understand and can appreciate. This from a place where many might never have considered our industry were it not for this opportunity. We are currently working with these fine young people to develop their resumes and make connections for interviews. Maybe one of your readers will be the lucky one to get to hire them!

As we prepare for the Spring Session 2016 session and beyond, please let your readers know that they could help set the future in motion for a young military veteran or active duty service member nearing completion of their service by encouraging them to apply and perhaps even sponsoring them or donating directly to the program.

One of our favorite days each session happens near the end of the program when the team members get to bring their families to Alcatraz to share their experience and show off their hard work. Last week, our Family Day entourage enjoyed a beautiful, sunny fall day on the Island. Not at all the type of San Francisco day that Mark Twain wrote about (but please help us keep the secret that San Francisco actually has a lot of beautiful weather!). The group enjoyed listening to the team members talk about their projects, learned about the over 150 years of Alcatraz military and federal penitentiary history from the incredible Ranger John, got their dose of exercise ascending the spiral stairway to the top of the historic lighthouse, visited the second level of cells in the prison building for a first-hand demonstration of the historic cell door operation, and had an overall great day. I have included pictures for you and your readers to enjoy.

Also, happy 100th year to the United States National Park Service! Everyone get out and Find Your Park this year!

Best Regards,



For a video describing the CPI's program at Alcatraz, click here.