Carolinas Associated General Contractors (CAGC) has launched its Build Your Career (BYC) Ambassadors Workforce Program to begin deploying dozens of construction industry leaders and supporters throughout the Carolinas to promote construction as an excellent career choice.
More than 50 CAGC “Ambassadors” from across the Carolinas — including building, highway-heavy, utility, specialty contractor, subcontractor, supplier, service company representatives, and educators – met at Central Piedmont Community College in a mid-October ramp up for the association’s Build Your Career Workforce Development Initiative, CAGC says in a statement.
“The biggest challenge we have in the construction industry is getting the word out on hundreds of well-paying careers that are available now, and in coming years, in the construction industry in the Carolinas,” said CAGC president and CEO Dave Simpson.
“Our BYC Ambassadors are getting the tools and resources they need to go out into the elementary, middle and high schools, as well as community and technical colleges, to adopt schools and spread the word about how construction is a great career that can enhance the quality of life of everybody in the Carolinas. We also are trying to recruit folks now for these careers.”
The BYC program, overseen by CAGC’s Education Foundation Board of Trustees, is gaining traction fast, the association says. “Construction is a fantastic career,” Sidney Rex, chair of the board of trustees, told the Ambassadors at the CAGC meeting. “You can just feel the enthusiasm in this room.”
“This is wonderful – and it is a great step in the right direction,” said Rebecca Battle Bryant of United Infrastructure, adding that the focus in the public schools needs to be on elementary/middle schools before high school students start making up their minds about their futures.
Mark Johnnie of Balfour Beatty and an incoming CAGC director, said the effort must also be heavy on the civil engineering side of construction and the focus should be on BYC — not being critical of colleges and universities as many graduates can also go into the construction industry upon completion of their degree programs.
Scott Fant of Sloan Construction Co. and past CAGC board chair, said: “It is important for us to understand that the construction industry needs to be united in this effort and learn from similar progress made by the manufacturing community.”
Rick Royals of Royals Contracting said that while it is good to concentrate on scouting out talent for the construction industry through the public schools, the needs for construction employees are great now and there are hundreds of good-paying jobs out there in the Carolinas. “I need people tomorrow. Part of our strategy has to be – how do we get them in the construction industry tomorrow?”
Milton Chicas of Wayne Brothers: “This is a great beginning. We need to start our outreach efforts in the middle schools.”
Claudia Dodgen of Crowder Constructors and past chair of the CAGC Board of Trustees: “I am thrilled about this and we need to grow it.”
“These statements are just a few of many that sum up the group consensus of the Ambassadors attending the CAGC Foundation’s Build Your Career Workforce Development Initiative meeting — and the excitement in the room was palpable,” the CAGC statement said. “Within the BYC platform, CAGC members recognize the endless possibilities now available for making connections between students and their parents, Carolinas’ region educators, various displaced workers and industry employers on a much larger and comprehensive scale.”
The CAGC statement says the purpose of the BYC Ambassador’s Workforce Development Initiative is to:
Narrow the skills gap in the construction industry, elevate the industry image and facilitate the advancement and education of America’s youth and various displaced workers by promoting a lifelong career in construction and craft trades via clearly defined career pathways.
For more information, contact CAGC BYC program director Tammy Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (704) 372-1450.