Ten More Ready for the Workforce!

As of October 11th, 2019, ten more individuals graduated from the Quick Start to Construction Program! That is, ten more people prepared to enter the workforce after intense preparation.

The Quick Start to Construction program is a partnership between CARITAS Works and REAL LIFE, supported by VCU and VCU Health Systems. Quick Start to Construction is a dedicated, structured, multi-week course designed to teach “Construction 101,” through providing an in-depth hands-on education intended to prepare the student for a full-time construction career upon graduation. As such, it is a four-week program that goes through the National Center for Construction Education and Research text. Additionally, soft skills training is also a major part of the program’s curriculum with an extensive focus on recovery.

The participants went on multiple off-site visits, including hands-on experience at Virginia Green, VCU Engineering Research Building, and a three-hour Power Tools instruction course at a VCU Warehouse. Many partnerships provided valuable information to our participants with classroom presentations, lunch and learns, and alike.

A demolition day at the REAL LIFE Female Recovery House gave the participants an opportunity to apply their knowledge by beginning renovations on the basement. They were responsible for removing carpeting, removing the existing floor and clean up.

Through our partnership with Allan Myers, their wonderful staff led many classes, including Introduction to Construction Drawings, Construction Math, OSHA-10, and safety. Although participants hope to gain employment in different areas of construction, including equipment operation, electrical and welding apprenticeships, all of this information can be applied across the board. Additionally, towards the end of the program, a requirement for graduation was to complete the First Aid, AED, & CPR certification course provided by the American Red Cross.

Most of the participants applied for the Quick Start program for an opportunity to learn more about construction and find meaningful employment. In week three, participants attended a hiring event by Atlantic Constructors, where three were hired on the spot! Angela was hired as a sheet metal helper, Nicholas as a sheet metal welder, and Jeff as a pipefitter.

Before starting the program, Virgil’s expectation was to get a job, however, he learned the tools for a thriving life, including “recovery life skills, critical and solution-based thinking.” Although Veronica wished her family was able to attend graduation and share her accomplishments, she has made REAL LIFE her family. During graduation, Jermaine admitted the staff “believed in [him] at times [he] didn’t believe in [him]self.” Through the program, many participants gained confidence in their abilities to find meaningful employment, all the while maintaining their sobriety.

We are happy to share that only two weeks after graduation, nine out of the ten individuals have full-time employment with varying construction companies! We could not be more proud of the group as a whole! Congratulations to everyone in class #5! Be proud of yourself and everything you have accomplished through the Quick Start to Construction Program!