THE CHALLENGE

As California infrastructure undergoes much needed repairs over the next decade, thousands of new jobs will be created across the state, yet it’s hard to find people interested in those jobs because so few are aware of and understand the industry or the career opportunity.

In 2018, the state association for construction materials turned to Kay Hazen and Company (KH) to help address both the challenge ahead.

“Most people don’t know where the material to build their roads, bridges and homes comes from. They just expect it to always be there,” Gary Hambly, Association President and CEO explained. “Raising awareness of the good jobs and careers and increasing opportunities for training is a priority and will be key to our collective future success.”

THE APPROACH

Over the next year, KH interviewed industry leaders, surveyed companies and researched and best practices. Recommendations to work with the California Community College (CCC) system as a partner and funder were unanimously approved by the industry. An MOU was signed and a program was created to build a talent pipeline for the future, including development of new training programs created by industry for industry.

KH led the effort from start to finish, surveying labor market needs and assembling industry leaders to identify priority hiring needs, skills and key competencies.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Over six months, the partners developed and launched a 48-hour pilot bridge to employment program aimed at students currently enrolled in their final semester of a related program of study at San Bernardino Valley College.

The Bridge to Employment program curriculum was developed by working industry professionals in collaboration with ECU sector directors and the college. The pilot classes began in early October 2019 wrapped up in mid-November with fourteen students and a 100% completion rate.

Students in the SBCCD pilot bridge to employment program were introduced to the history of construction and industrial materials and received basic training in geology, equipment, extraction, plant and delivery processes as well as basic employability skills including resume writing, teamwork, communications, basic math and computer skills and other 21st Century Skills required in today’s workplace.

They also participated in a series of hands on exercises, safety training and on-site visits to working producer plants.

HOW’D IT GO?

Upon successful completion students received college, industry and OSHA 10 certifications. They also received Aggregate Handbooks, work boots and interview suits. Participants were thrilled.

Once students completed their technical training in welding, diesel mechanics, construction technology or other related program they were set to begin applying for openings from among the more than 20 member employers who had guaranteed them interviews.

Following success of the pilot, the college received a $1 million state workforce development grant to replicate the training throughout the region in partnership with industry and labor.

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