Vernon Young had high hopes for his future, but the 30-year-old Clayton County resident was out of work and unsure how to find a meaningful career.
Enter Construction Ready, a non-profit organization based in Atlanta that trains people for construction jobs, which are in high demand in the region’s booming economy. After four weeks of intensive training, Young graduated in late August – and landed a great job.
“This is a life-changing moment. Being able to move forward now means everything to me,” he said after his graduation ceremony, his eyes welling with tears.
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A Career Matchmaker
Young and 12 others took part in a Construction Ready program focused on serving people who live in the area around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All 13 participants received job offers upon graduation.
“Construction in the airport area is booming, but at the same time we know that many people in those communities have been struggling to find good jobs,” said Rob LeBeau, chairman of the Aerotropolis Workforce Collective and manager of ARC’s Workforce Solutions group. “This program acts as a matchmaker to connect businesses with employees who have in-demand skills and training.”
The program works like an intensive, four-week “boot camp” that certifies trainees in industry-recognized skills like forklift operations, as well as soft skills like resume-writing. At the end, trainees meet with potential employers in a round of “speed-dating” interviews, and at the next day’s graduation, any firms that wish to can make job offers. Work begins the following Monday.
Vernon Young will be donning a hard-hat and heading to work with construction firm Technique Concrete in nearby Forest Park. It’s not uncommon for entry-level workers like him to earn more than $30,000-$40,000 per year, with overtime. And Young says this is just the beginning. In a few years, he hopes to start his own business.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to employ people like me who are going through this program.”
The next Construction Ready class begins in October. Aerotropolis Atlanta hosts a similar program for the area’s hospitality industry that holds its graduation Sept. 8.
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