Mr. Kernan is creating access for those who have been historically discouraged to join skilled artisan trades due to the fact that apprenticeship craft training has been controlled for so long by organized labor. Understanding, as well as consolidating, the needs for access and education equally, Mr. Kernan developed an apprenticeship training program with the SUNY Maritime College.

Private Sector Solution to a Public Sector Problem

Mr. Kernan created Oriska Insurance in 1990 to support disadvantaged businesses within the construction industry. Oriska Insurance offers products for an industry that is not easily accessible for disadvantaged. The provision of an entry-level bonding opportunity includes mentoring to ensure the bonding principals are able to complete the project on-time and on-budget. The worker’s compensation, disability benefits and health insurance are easing the burden, covering incalculable risks in a socially responsible manner and guaranteeing compliance with the law. Mr. Kernan pioneered this private-sector solution to create flourishing businesses within distressed communities.

Overcoming Obstacles through Innovation

Mr. Kernan is known for an innovative spirit, turning stagnant traditions and bureaucratic hurdles that too often become obstacles for the disadvantaged, into future-oriented concepts. He identified the three main causes of concern that prevent disadvantaged workers from fully participating and equally advancing in society. Those are missing skill sets within trades, mentoring and a lack of the financial protection required to compete.

Creating Flourishing Business Landscapes within Distressed Communities

Acutely aware of the hardship disadvantaged businesses face when trying to compete, Mr. Kernan developed solutions to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit needed to lift entire communities struggling today. He created opportunities within the construction industry’s skilled trades, where training, mentoring and access to capital could have a significant impact on disadvantaged. To address these key factors, Mr. Kernan developed private sector solutions that train disadvantaged in skilled trades, mentor them in business development and provide them the financial protection to bid on large public works projects. In essence, Mr. Kernan gives distressed communities a pathway to the American Dream.