NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor HB NEXT is the education partner for Construction Ready, a national partnership that has become a key pathway to growing Atlanta. Construction Ready is a collaborative effort between the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) and their partners to bridge the employment gap and end Atlanta’s skilled labor shortage. With three locations near major Atlanta construction projects, Construction Ready is recruiting workers, creating jobs and giving hope to communities where there once was only poverty and despair.
HB NEXT offers a full scope of services to the construction industry, including consulting, inspection, training, technology and utility services, but offering NCCER training courses has become the masthead of their services. HB NEXT CEO Mark Hornbuckle says, “The NCCER blue card is becoming the gold card for the industry.” He adds that he is proud to run a company that teaches life-changing NCCER classes to students looking for a fresh start while also helping his colleagues keep their projects moving by supplying them with qualified workers.
When HB NEXT partnered with CEFGA, another NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor, the two groups set out to develop an all-encompassing program that prepares unskilled workers for construction careers near where they live. Construction Ready is designed to eliminate many of the common barriers to employment, such as communication, tuition, childcare, lengthy time commitments, transportation and accessibility.
A recent survey of Atlanta’s largest construction companies revealed that 79 percent of construction employers are having difficulty filling key hourly craft positions. However, because of Construction Ready, 330 have people received jobs at over 60 construction companies in the Atlanta area. Due to the success of the program, HB NEXT has been asked to develop more training sites in other cities that are facing similar challenges.
Before individuals enter the program, they are assessed to determine their level of professional experience and undergo background checks, drug testing and literacy tests. Applicants are then interviewed to determine their character and aptitude for a career in construction. Those who qualify are taught by experienced industry instructors in small, hands-on, classroom environments with up to 20 students per session. “This personalized and fast-paced 20-day course gives students a realistic snapshot of the construction industry so they can decide if they want to pursue a career,” said Hornbuckle. Construction Ready graduates earn their NCCER blue card upon successful completion of the Core Curriculum, and they can start working and earning a living wage right away. “They will be able to earn a good living, move up the ladder and become productive members of society,” said Hornbuckle. “That’s something many of these people have never been able to do before.”