SACRAMENTO — Associated General Contractors of California (AGC) leaders at AGC’s Legislative Summit unveiled a statewide skilled trade education and recruitment initiative – Go Build California (LINKS: website / Facebook / Twitter ). This comprehensive, multi-year effort will address skilled labor shortages through targeted education and image enhancement to inform and inspire the next generation of future skilled workers.
“Due to the prolonged elimination of vo-tech education programs, we have been pursuing workforce development efforts for many years,” AGC of California’s Chief Executive Officer Tom Holsman said. “This latest endeavor with Go Build California will help overcome societal stigmas and get younger folks interested in construction.”
America depends on skilled labor – but currently the average age of a construction worker is over 50 years old, and for every five workers who leave the industry, only one replaces them. Because of both misperceptions and misunderstandings about the skills, wages and career paths, students in junior high school through junior college seldom investigate these career possibilities. Worse, construction industry labor shortages were compounded by the national recession beginning around 2007. Without action to attract skilled workers to the construction industry, California faces severe problems in any effort to build and maintain its infrastructure or continue to thrive as one of the strongest economies in the world.
The purpose of Go Build California is to keep our workforce strong and steady, and that starts by inspiring young people to consider a career in the skilled trades. Launching today, the initiative seeks to address misperceptions about the industry by highlighting the long-term career opportunities in the construction craft trades. Go Build California’s outreach efforts will extend throughout the state to engage and educate students and their influencers. “It’s the parents, teachers, and coaches that can influence and emphasize the viable career pathways and hands-on training programs in California’s construction industry,” Holsman said.
Christine Baker, Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations, spoke to the AGC group on Tuesday and said, “I’m looking forward to working with Go Build California as labor and management jointly enhance our workforce pipeline and create industry jobs throughout the state. This effort will help in recruiting new workers and supporting the department’s workforce development efforts.”
Perceptions don’t change overnight, so Go Build employs a robust public relations education campaign that reaches and interacts with students at multiple levels with one seamless message. “In developing the Go Build initiative, we realized that a short-term marketing blitz would never cause a paradigm shift in the public’s thinking about the skilled trades. Go Build’s unique, multi-platform approach is unmatched in it’s scope, strategy and measurable impact. We’re actively engaging and inspiring young people and offering a national rallying cry for our industry to coalesce around: Go Build,” said Bob Woods, CEO/President of Go Build. California becomes the fourth Go Build state partner, which also includes Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.
As part of a sustained public relations campaign, Go Build California will deploy its message across a variety of mediums – including TV, print and digital advertising, social media channels, an engaging website, grassroots outreach, and educator tools, such as trade videos, classroom materials and more. Go Build Alabama launched in 2010 and has had a significant impact on filling the skilled labor pipeline. Since 2010, construction-related career tech (CTE) course enrollments have increased by 24% over previous years, 3 out of 4 apprenticeships have seen a substantial increase in applications, the state has added 120 new accredited training programs due to student demand – and 51% of construction CTE students said Go Build influenced their decision to pursue a career in construction. Go Build also has statewide programs in Georgia and Tennessee.
Go Build California is supported by the Associated General Contractors Construction Education Foundation (AGC CEF). Founded in 2000 by the association, it works to develop and strengthen the professionalism and effectiveness of individuals in the construction industry.
“We are extremely proud to bring Go Build to California,” said Mike Mencarini, President of Unger Construction Company and 2017 AGC of California President. “The success seen in other state campaigns that have launched Go Build is tremendous. Partnering with Go Build advances our [AGC CEF] mission to another level, and we look forward to expanding our program initiatives in the year to come.”
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About Go Build
Go Build is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that seeks to address the current skills gap by enhancing the image of the construction industry and informing students, parents, and educators about opportunities in the trades. The program has operated in Alabama since 2010, Tennessee since 2016 and California since 2017.
About the AGC Construction Education Foundation
The AGC Construction Education Foundation was founded by the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC), to establish construction as a viable career option and to promote the development of construction careers. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit benefit corporation, and relies on donations to carry out their mission. For more information about AGC CEF programs and services, visit http://www.agc-ca.org/Foundation/
About AGC of California
Founded in 1920, the Associated General Contractors of California has been the premier organization of choice by experienced and next generation construction and contracting professionals through dedicated advocacy and top-tier access with state and local governments, education and career development, and networking with industry leaders through innovative programs and events.