Publicly financed construction creates a better future for workers and communities when it delivers expanded access to career-path training and quality jobs.
In particular, the new green economy presents a unique opportunity to uplift those who need good jobs the most while conserving our environment for future generations.
Whether repairing roads, constructing new schools, or building new transit lines, construction is one of our largest public investments and keeps our communities functioning. Construction in the green economy includes:
Weatherization of homes
Retrofitting of institutions and commercial buildings for greater energy efficiency
LEED certified construction of new buildings
New, more sustainable energy production and transmission infrastructure
Too often our public investments result in physical infrastructure, but they fail to invest in the human infrastructure we need to keep the industry growing. Many high quality registered apprenticeship programs exist, but public and private construction projects worth billions of dollars are built without training apprentices along the way.
Laborers trainee learning weatherization skills
FRESC's Construction Career Opportunities project seeks to reverse this trend through a multi-pronged strategy.
First, we seek to expand pathways for individuals into existing apprenticeship programs, with a special emphasis on training more women, people of color, and low-income individuals. FRESC works to build a bridge between registered apprenticeship programs, public workforce staff and systems, and community and neighborhood based organizations.
Second, we are working to build a more coordinated system of recruitment, training, and support services to ensure individuals have the support they need to qualify for and graduate from apprenticeship programs. FRESC does not provide direct services to job seekers, but we use our construction expertise and relationships with key stakeholders to maximize existing resources, fill gaps, and improve the regional construction workforce system.
Third, we advocate for clear and proven policies to ensure public and publicly-subsidized projects train registered apprentices. Workforce plans are doomed to failure if they focus only on improving the supply of prospective workers, without attention to ensuring there is adequate demand and openings to place and train those prospective workers on the job. FRESC has carefully studied best practices and failed construction training initiatives across the country to develop recommendations that will ensure that the first two prongs of the construction career strategy are ultimately successful.