Mr. Shanks has been with the Cypress Mandela Training Center since its inception in 1993 and became the executive director in 2003, formulating a new non-profit organization, Cypress Mandela Training Center, Inc. He focused his attention on making life changes with people of color that have never segued into livable wage careers in the construction industry.
Mr. Shanks started his career in construction at a very early age under his father’s tutelage and later went through two formalized apprenticeship programs, the carpenter and cement masons, and was later responsible for the high-rise work in SF, LA, and Chicago areas.
Mr. Shanks holds a Master of Science Degree in biochemistry with a special emphasis in genetics, and administered the Northern CA apprenticeship program for over 15 years. He holds a lifetime teaching credential for post-secondary education and is certified as a Master trainer and educator in Environmental, Hazardous Materials, and OSHA Investigation. Mr. Shanks was appointed to the Social Justice Committee for the Port of Oakland in 1999, the Oakland Unified School Committee, and Community and College Consortium for Health and Safety Training/PETE and still serves on all. In 1998 under the Clinton administration, Mr. Shanks was appointed by then Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman, to the Advisory Board of the Federal Committee on Registered Apprenticeship in Washington, D.C. The initial term was for two years and Mr. Shanks served a total of six years (three terms). He, along with the 24 other members, advised on development and implementation of administration policies affecting apprenticeship, measures that fostered quality workplaces and workforce readiness.
Mr. Shanks continues today as the CEO/Executive Director for the Cypress Mandela Training Center, Inc., a nationally acclaimed pre-apprenticeship program located in West Oakland.