Construction Ready – Then and Now

In the summer of 2014, the workforce development program we have come to know as Construction Ready, began as a vision of The Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank to revitalize communities in the Westside of Atlanta by creating career opportunities for some of the City’s disadvantaged residents. The vehicle through which this vision would be initially achieved, was construction of the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Through a long-term relationship with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), HB NEXT was called upon to be the training partner for this joint venture, providing construction industry-recognized credentialing and certifications for the program’s selected participants. Through funding provided by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Mr. Blank’s generosity and unwavering commitment to improving the Westside communities, and, the City of Atlanta, was evident from the outset of this voyage.

Mr. Blank’s generosity, however, did not come without (some) expectations.

Construction Ready’s first location at Westside Works -which was established at the former E.R. Carter Elementary School on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard in Atlanta- was challenged to graduate and place (100) trainees into full-time careers in construction.

This was a daunting challenge, indeed.

Like any project with lofty goals, there were doubts that this could everbe accomplished. Plenty of naysayers, before recognizing the impact that was quietly being made in this community, were quick to offer their opinions on the matter.

Well, as it turns out, the naysayers and doubters were sadly misinformed.

In expeditious fashion, Westside Works graduated and placed those 100 trainees into full-time employment in the construction industry. In fact, the success and evolution of the Westside Works program was so impressive, that it garnered the excitement of the Build Cobb Initiative in Cobb County, who brought the same training program to Smyrna, GA, to support construction of the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park.

Additionally, it resulted in the Blank Foundation’s continued interest in the program.

Westside Works just celebrated its 25thgroup of graduates this summer. Build Cobb just graduated their 16th.

As the Westside Works and Build Cobb locations continued their success with the Construction Ready program, two additional locations launched in in the Atlanta area, in 2016 and 2017, respectively:

The Center for Working Families, Inc, in the Georgia Hill community near Turner Field now known as Georgia State Stadium; and, Aerotropolis, near East Point, GA.

Fast forward to 2018, Construction Ready now has 4 locations actively operating in the Atlanta area, with additional locations in planning for 2019 and beyond. To date, the program has graduated (through all 4 locations) a total of 815trainees, with 776of them being hired into full-time jobs with several Atlanta-area construction companies. This program is proud to boast an ongoing job placement rate of over 95%. What’s more impressive, is that over 70% of the graduates from the Construction Ready program have maintained their positions with these companies for a year or better.

We are excited to be a part of this powerful and rewarding program; and, are looking forward to building towards the program’s continued success!

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