WASHINGTON, D.C.—Associated Builders and Contractors is committed to shaping an industry that welcomes all people. As part of Second Chance Month, ABC has highlighted the programs, partnerships and involvement of its chapters and members across the country in educating, upskilling and hiring reentering citizens.
“Second Chance Month raises awareness around the value that reentering citizens can bring to the construction workforce,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “These individuals have paid their debt to society and should be given the opportunity to achieve their newly found career dreams, and these inspiring stories highlight how ABC is working with individuals seeking that second chance to build a bright future for themselves. This year, our industry will need to hire 430,000 more workers than were employed in 2020 to meet the demand for construction services. Reentering citizens can help us bridge the gap, fill the workforce shortage and help bring our economic engine roaring back to life.”
For more than 15 years, ABC Pelican Chapter, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has partnered with reentry programs such as Job Challenge, Youth Challenge and Cenikor, as well as independent churches that offer private funds to assist those seeking to upskill. These partnerships have given nearly 400 reentering citizens, ages 17 to 35, the opportunity to learn valuable skillsets and find employment after rehabilitation for drug addiction or behavior issues. Many ABC Pelican industrial contractor members are instrumental in offering these individuals job opportunities, further building the future workforce.
Also in Louisiana, ABC members partner with the Louisiana State Penitentiary to create safety curriculum and donate resources and equipment to the craft program mentees who participate in the reentry programs, such as scaffolding safety training.
In Pennsylvania, ABC Keystone Chapter, located in Manheim, is the registered apprenticeship sponsor and partner for Berks Connections Pretrial Services located in Reading. This program offers people with a criminal history the opportunity to acquire skills in the construction trades that lead to gainful employment and access to projects, like the renovation of some of the city’s blighted neighborhoods. Participants benefit from an employment-focused cognitive curriculum and comprehensive case management that includes financial literacy, coaching, job search, placement and retention support.
Since 2016, ABC Cornhusker Chapter, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, has taught close to 1,000 reentering citizens through National Center for Construction Education and Research programs and more than 2,000 through reentering citizens safety programs. A recipient of the Vocational Life Skills Grant, the chapter has a 0% recidivism rate to date for those that have continued in the training programs after release. ABC Cornhusker serves both individuals incarcerated in the Nebraska State Correctional Facilities and those on probation and parole.
For years, ABC California members’ relationship with Orange County nonprofit Taller San Jose Hope Builders has helped young people reconnect to the workforce and build a future that lasts. Member contractors accept matched students, for some contractors as many as 16 students at one time, into ABC training programs across multiple disciplines. These students are driven, motivated and are changing their lives for the better.
ABC is building a workforce that is safe, skilled and productive using innovative and flexible learning models and apprenticeships in more than 50 professions. In 2019 alone, ABC members invested $1.5 billion to provide more than 1.1 million course attendees with craft, leadership and safety education. ABC has 1,400 training locations nationwide where it connects high school students, minorities, reentering citizens, second career seekers, veterans and women with rewarding careers in construction.