The Georgia K-12 Pipeline
At the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, we work to help students align their passion with their purpose, and align their purpose with their paycheck. To elaborate, we realized many years ago that we need to reach students earlier than high school graduation to help them explore a wider range of options available to them. Therefore, CEFGA’s K12 Division started navigating the complex K-12 system to work with a variety of influencers (like teachers, parents, counselors, volunteers, coaches, industry partners) to reach youth from elementary school up to recent high school graduates to help them discover the joy of building something with their hands. We took it a step further by creating a world-class industry recognized class certification program that ensures high school students are earning nationally-recognized credentials and are prepared for construction jobs through hands-on training. Our ultimate goal is to equip students with skill sets, partnerships, and training options that help them take steps toward finding fulfilling, successful careers in construction. In fact, our K12 division has helped bring construction industry career awareness to 43,710 students, helped students earn 13,870 credentials of value, and helped place 1,523 students in construction career pathways over the past two years alone. In short, CEFGA’s K12 Division believes that all students deserve a pathway to success, so we help prepare students for industry and, likewise, help prepare industry for students.
San Antonio Construction Career Academy
A presentation from staff at the San Antonio Construction Career Academy about how they have built within the past decade a high-performing construction program within the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. The program is a competitive entry high school that regularly receives far more applications than available spots. More important, the Career Academy became the first public high school in the country to become a registered apprenticeship training program for construction by the U.S. Department of Labor. Staff from the school will talk about the work involved in creating the program, how they partnered with industry to attract resources, and how they work to attract top quality students, and how they plan to build on their success in the future.
ConstructReach is a construction industry workforce development initiative and consultancy that seeks to increase the visibility of the construction industry by educating students about career opportunities within construction, connecting general contractors to interns, employees, and internship / new-hire curriculum, creating content, experiences, and an app-based social network to expose a diverse population to sustainable construction careers. The ConstructReach Social Network brings together all of our stakeholders in an environment so that true community can be established.
Real, systematic change goes beyond the infrastructure of construction projects – it extends to clients, employees, communities, and beyond. Thus ConstructReach takes on a programmatic approach to aid companies in developing DE&I initiatives to build a culture that effectively attracts, supports, develops and retains talent. This initiative was initially funded by Target and has expanded to include other owners and many general contractors.
Metro Community College Construction Program
Dean Nate Berry, who runs the College’s construction program will talk about how his program is working to reinvent construction education at the community college level to better prepare workers for successful construction careers. He will talk about how they created a new program and leveraged community support to help fund the construction of a new campus. He will talk about how the school works with the local industry to focus instruction on employers’ needs. He will also talk about how the school provides construction education for local high school students as well. More important, he will talk about how to replicate Metro Community College’s success at other programs. Nate has delivered similar mini-Ted talks at regional meetings and should do a good job presenting here.
Indiana DOT Workforce Development Program
Representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation and several local construction-focused high schools will talk about how they are using state grants to create a comprehensive workforce development program designed to prepare more people for careers in highway construction. The program is extremely comprehensive and provides training for adults, returning citizens and high school students (in partnership with several high school programs). These high school programs, one near Indianapolis and one near Fort Wayne, are pretty innovative in themselves and offer examples of how to create a stand-alone program in one case, and how to integrate construction educate into the mainstream curriculum in the other case. What is nice about the Indiana DOT program is that they are working to place people into union and open shop career opportunities.
Whitaker Construction Workforce Development Program (Member Driven Program)
Recruiting top talent is critical to the success of any business, especially construction, as employees are a key source of competitive advantage. With the right teams in place, companies can boost productivity across the organization, establish a culture of safety and provide the highest quality services to customers which are all needed to drive profitability. The problem is, there is a rising generation that lacks the skills and interest to pursue the trades. For the last 30 years, careers in the trades and specifically in construction, have been under attack and viewed as “less than” in schools, politics and in communities. Funding for CTE programs has decreased with schools cutting CTE programs left and right. Using a shovel or wielding a hammer isn’t seen as a career, it is seen as a punishment. A punishment for not doing well in school. How do we counteract these negative stereotypes and shift the mindset of the rising generation?
This presentation will focus on several tips and tricks companies can implement to partner with local high schools to attract, recruit, and retain a new generation of employee that see’s the trades a career and not a punishment and who will embrace and value a culture of hard work, teamwork and safety.