Tradesman Recruitment Program Expands Into Georgia

Following the success of Go Build Alabama, the Alabama Workforce Development Initiative has expanded its recruitment program to Georgia in partnership with the Georgia Governor's Office of Workforce Development. Go Build aims to enhance the image of the skilled craft trades and recruit the next generation of workers, with an emphasis on industrial and commercial construction careers.

On January 17, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced plans to launch Go Build Georgia, which will build on the success of Go Build Alabama, launched in August of 2010.

Both recruitment programs are partnering with Mike Rowe, executive producer and host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," and his mikeroweWorks.com initiative. Rowe's website and foundation call attention to the growing skills gap while providing a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to investigate a career in the skilled trades.

The Alabama Workforce Development Initiative, a 501c3 which was created to develop a successful recruitment program for skilled craft trade labor, worked to establish the Go Build brand with the goal of expanding it across the South and beyond. Go Build aims to address current and forecasted needs in skilled labor. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Current Population Study, more than one third of skilled tradesmen are over the age of 50. For every three tradesmen who retire, only one is in the education pipeline to replace them.

Bob Woods, executive director of AWDI, said his organization hopes to develop partnerships with additional states to combat this looming shortage with a common message – Go Build.

"We have Alabama in our title because our organization was born in Alabama where forward-thinking industry leaders were willing to pilot this program, but AWDI was formed really to develop a recruitment program that would be regional and eventually national in scope," Woods said. "Ultimately, skilled labor workers such as welders, pipefitters, equipment operators, road builders – they are in such demand that they don't know state lines. It isn't uncommon for crews to travel from one state to another to work on a big project."

Woods said while AWDI set the wheels in motion for the development and expansion of Go Build, each state program is operated by local organizations. Go Build Alabama is managed by the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute and Go Build Georgia is a project of the Office of Workforce Development.

Go Build has been officially endorsed by the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT), an international organization founded by construction and engineering executives representing major corporations all across the globe, as their image enhancement and recruiting program. The initiative is a labor-neutral program.

Woods said CURT's endorsement along with Go Build's partnership with Mike Rowe and its track record of success to date gives Go Build the foundation it needs to continue expanding in the months and years to come.

"This type of program is essential not just to the industries we are recruiting for but to continued economic development in our region," Woods said. "If we sit back and allow our skilled craftsmen to retire without training the next generation of workers we are not going to be able to build and maintain the infrastructure we need for sustainable growth across the country."

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