The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia graduated its first Construction Ready class in Savannah on Friday, June 11. All graduates matched with local employers and immediately started their new careers.
“The Construction Ready training has changed my life,” said Tyquell Washington. “I’m ready to get started with Vos Electric next week!”
Construction Ready expanded into Savannah in March 2021, with initial classes held at Connor’s Temple Baptist Church. The program takes Georgians through a free 20-day construction training program that concludes with a hiring fair where students match with a company and position that best fits their skill set and needs.
Seventy-seven-year-old Willie Brown said, “I could be on the dock fishing, but I wanted to be a part of the Construction Ready program and show my grandchildren what they have to look up to in the future.”
Construction Ready enables students to earn up to eight industry-recognized credentials, giving them a significant advantage in the job market.
“We were excited to expand the Construction Ready program into Savannah and are delighted to celebrate the graduation of these 10 class participants,” said CEFGA President and CEO Scott Shelar. “There are many construction jobs open in the Savannah region, and we need local residents trained and certified to fill those positions.”
The expansion into the Savannah region is part of a major growth of the program across Georgia, financed in part by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, part of the CARES Act. In August 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp announced CEFGA would receive $3.3 million to expand the Construction Ready program. The GEER funding supports broadband and connectivity extensions, mental health services, workforce training, childcare, and tech innovation.
“The City of Savannah is proud to be the latest area of expansion and investment for the Construction Ready program,” said Mayor Van Johnson. “Being able to bring training and jobs to our region is extremely important. A career as a construction worker offers good pay and a high likelihood of finding and maintaining employment.”
Since 2014, CEFGA, through the Construction Ready program, has trained more than 1,000 workers of all ages for a successful career in construction. Successes of the program include:
- 97% job placement by the end of the training
- Average starting salary of $12 to $15 per hour
- 70% of participants employed with the same company after one year
The goal of Construction Ready is to help close the workforce skills gap and address a lack of skilled workers in Georgia. In 2019, the state reported a shortage of more than 61,000 skilled workers, and the shortage has continued through the COVID pandemic. Closing this skills gap by educating more Georgians about careers in the skilled professions is CEFGA’s primary goal.
“It’s great to see CEFGA allocating Georgia’s GEER funding so quickly in Savannah as part of the Construction Ready program,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “These are challenging times for our state, but we will continue to work around the clock to support our students and teachers, improve outcomes and get hardworking Georgians back to work.”
The next Construction Ready class in Savannah is Aug. 23 through Sept. 17. Potential students can learn more and apply at constructionready.org/newcareer.