AGC of California launches Build California


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Associated General Contractors of California and the AGC Construction Education Foundation launched Build California, a comprehensive workforce development initiative created to inspire, engage, and activate the next generation of California’s construction workforce. 

“Developing our workforce isn’t just a pillar of AGC of California’s mission, it’s essential to the future of our state,” said Peter Tateishi, CEO of AGC of California. “Together with our partners, we’ve launched Build California, a workforce development initiative to change the future of construction. Rooted in research and focused on the future, Build California will reshape the perception of construction careers and cultivate a strong, steady workforce pipeline.”

Despite increased media attention about career opportunities and existing workforce development efforts, young people simply aren’t considering careers in the construction trades like generations before. According to a 2018 survey, only 9 percent of high school students are pursuing careers in the trades. That statistic, combined with AGC of America’s recent survey showing 80 percent of contractors “report difficulty finding qualified craft workers to hire,” shows a need to reinvest in efforts to appeal to young people.

“It’s an issue that’s impacting our members and requires us to think differently about how to attract the next generation,” said Erin Volk, Vice President, Workforce & Community Development, and Executive Director of the AGC Construction Education Foundation. “We’ve spent more than a year developing Build California to be a targeted, nimble, and impactful initiative with a single focus: creating a steady, motivated and skilled workforce pipeline for California’s construction industry.”

Build California’s pioneering approach will utilize robust marketing, public relations, and outreach efforts to engage with Californians. These deployment efforts will communicate the lucrative, long-term, and immediate benefits of careers in the state’s construction industry. 

The multi-phased program will begin with a pilot implementation year, targeting three high schools in California for in-school activation, while also launching an online educator portal available for teachers and administrators to begin engagement on-demand. At the completion of the 2019-2020 school year, AGC will review results of the pilot year before launching in additional schools throughout the state.

“Our goal for the pilot year is to test our hypothesis and make sure Build California is engaging with our audiences—students, parents, teachers, jobseekers—in meaningful ways,” said Volk. “We are being intentional about how we engage and interact, especially with the students, knowing devices, social media platforms, and all of their influencing factors change quickly in this digital world.” 

Setting Build California apart from other workforce development programs is the approach inspired by popular, modern lifestyle brands while incorporating industry-proven tools and tactics. By emphasizing the immediate, long-term career opportunities, not simply short term or seasonal jobs in California’s construction industry, Build California can provide a sustainable and stable pathway for millions of residents across the state.

The initiative is supported by a diverse group of organizations making up the Build California Coalition with four Founders spearheading the program development, including AGC of California, the AGC Construction Education Foundation, LCPtracker, and Procore. Additional coalition partners and supporters represent all areas of the industry, including AGC members, public agencies, private owners, associations, unions, apprenticeship programs, and other non-profits focused on and committed to developing the next generation of skilled, effective and motivated construction workforce.
is the information hub to drive students, parents, teachers, and jobseekers to actionable information on careers in construction. Visitors to the site can learn about the various construction trades, get connected to apprentice programs across the state, identify college pathways, or find a job on the site’s job listing portal. Parents and teachers can access information about the benefits of their students entering the industry and how to engage with the program.

“Build California is the comprehensive solution the construction industry needs to help build a strong and skilled workforce pipeline,” said Tateishi. “We are excited to see how this initiative transforms the perception of construction careers and engages the future of our industry.


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