Columbus residents attend construction courses provided by Goodwill

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 10:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The construction industry is looking for skilled laborers to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings. Leaders say in order to meet demand, contractors will need to hire an estimated 546,000 workers this year.

Three nonprofit organizations are joining forces to give residents in Columbus the skills needed to land a lucrative construction job.

“I saw it on the news, and I was like, yes, going for it... absolutely,” said student Jaline McMillan.

McMillan is one of about a dozen people chosen to be a part of the Construction Ready program. Three non-profit organizations are working together to provide free job training for people interested in the construction industry.

Communications Director for Goodwill, Julie Bennett, says these courses typically cost nearly $4,000. Goodwill will be covering those costs for most students attending this class.

“So what we want to do, we understand the importance for young people, in particular, to find employment where they can make a living that will support a family over the long haul, and we want to remove any barrier that might percent them from being able to achieve this training,” Bennett.

The instructor of the class says the construction field is shorthanded, with many open positions that need to be filled.

“Right now in the US, we could use half-million to a million construction workers. Most projects I talked to, every owner that I talked to tells me their number one fear is they won’t have the people to build the jobs.”

With residents in the Valley ready to fill some of those positions, McMillian, who was laid off from her previous job, says this is something she has been wanting to do for years.

“All the parents want to send their kids to go to college, but I always tell everybody you can go into construction 18 the trains will take you in they’ll put you through four years of training at the end of the four years, you’ve earned probably 150,000 in wages during that four years you have no college debt, and you’ve got a career ahead of you.”

Goodwill says this is not a one-time opportunity. They will have more classes like this available in the future.