Augusta Business Daily

Wed, September 27, 2023

Training program to benefit local construction companies

Ben McGhee (pictured at right) works for a local construction company and has been trying to find a pre apprenticeship program for his employees.

Construction Ready is an intensive 20-day program that provides participants with hands-on training and industry certifications. In Augusta, classes meet at Augusta Technical College.

McGhee – Plumbing Superintendent for Gold Mech in Augusta, was excited to learn more about the Construction Ready program, which prepares Georgia residents for a variety of skilled construction jobs, such as welding, landscaping, and roofing. He and representatives from other local construction companies attended an Employer Roundtable session at the Augusta Public Defender’s Office on Wednesday, Dec. 15 and says the 20-day intensive training program will be invaluable for finding quality candidates to fill jobs at Gold Mech. “We have a four-year apprenticeship program for our company, but need employees who are prepared to enter that program,” says McGhee.

Construction Ready was established in 2014 by the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps to address the state construction industry’s need for skilled workers. In Augusta, classes meet at Augusta Technical College Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for four weeks. The next class will meet from Feb. 7 to March 4, and the registration deadline is Monday, Dec. 20. The class provides hands-on training and gives participants the opportunity to earn up to eight credentials, including OSHA, Forklift Safety Awareness, and Laser Tool training.

Alexis Muir – Associate Director of Placement and Employer Engagement with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, says Construction Ready prepares people for skilled construction jobs. (Photo taken by Josh Heath)

Alexis Muir – CEFGA’s Associate Director of Placement and Employer Engagement, says the program is ideal for those considering a career in construction. “It’s a jumpstart for people,” states Muir, who spoke about Construction Ready at the Employer Roundtable. “It creates that foot in the door.” She explains the feedback she receives from both program graduates and employers is generally positive. “Employers are usually really pleased with how prepared everyone is,” Muir says. Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. also shared remarks about his support for Construction Ready and its potential benefits for local companies.

Dr. Simon Medcalfe is an Economics Professor at Augusta University’s Hull College of Business and weekly columnist for ABD.


Dr. Simon Medcalfe – Professor of Economics at Augusta University, says the local job market for construction workers in the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area was affected by the pandemic last year, but it rebounded this year. “Employment was steadily rising to just over 21,000 before the pandemic, falling to about 19,000 in summer 2020, before increasing again and just besting the pre-pandemic level in summer this year,” states Medcalfe. “Since the summer, employment has declined to about 20,000.”

To be eligible for the program, applicants must pass a drug test and criminal background check. Throughout the program, participants undergo random drug testing. On the 19th day of the program, CEFGA hosts a career fair to connect students with employers in the construction industry. Curtis Stark – Gold Mech’s Plumbing Service Manager, says hiring candidates who already have marketable construction skills will greatly benefit the company. “We’ll be able to help them be the best version of themselves,” Stark explains. “We’re into human and professional development.”

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