CEFGA Shifts: Offering Online Construction Education and Job Placement for Georgia’s High School Students

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Online learning takes on a whole new meaning when the learning is high school construction education. The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) is working with teachers across Georgia to create virtual training tools that allow teachers to continue to teach construction education to their students while in quarantine at home. 

There is a skilled labor gap in the United States. At the beginning of this school year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 311,000 vacancies in the construction industry. It is for this reason CEFGA is working to bring awareness to the opportunities in the construction fields. The current stay-at-home mandates have led the organization to change their approach but the need for students to enter the construction field is higher than ever, so they are finding creative ways to keep students making progress.

CEFGA president and CEO Scott Shelar says, “We realize teachers are the front-line leaders in workforce development and right now we need to provide content and credentialing programs for them so their students can succeed in the workforce.”

Virtual Certifications

These virtual learning platforms can lead to nationally recognized credentials for high school students that result in higher wages. The programs provide certifications such as the OSHA 10-hr safety training program. CEFGA is currently providing the highly regarded online training platform at no cost to construction education students. The tests will be paid on a first come, first-served basis prioritizing students who are serious about entering the construction industry, especially seniors, so teachers are asked to submit their requests soon. 

“It’s changing lives,” said Mark Adams, Construction & Metals Instructor at White County High School in reference to the access to these digital solutions and how important they can be to students entering the construction industry.

Dennis Wilson,  a construction teacher at Gilmer County High School, added, “The OSHA-10 credential [provided by CEFGA] is more impactful because of the industry recognition behind these credentials. My students have the opportunity to gain this credential right now digitally in my class, and the real big win is that my students will come out of this school year with an industry recognized credential that will help them make more money with employers.”  

The OSHA-10 certification is important for students entering the workforce. Students with OSHA-10 certification are safer on a construction site and have the opportunity to earn more per hour than those without the certification.

Other digital programs, certifications and virtual programs being offered by CEFGA include:

Ladder Safety and NCCERConnect  (with Pearson), are being offered free for students through the end of May. Teachers can obtain access codes and additional information through CEFGA. 

Students also have the opportunity to learn about careers in construction with digital demonstrations that virtually take students on walkthroughs of construction jobs and/or sites.

Job Placement

CEFGA is also helping educate students on career options and working to place students directly into jobs at leading construction companies. High School students interested in a career in construction can text “careerpath” to 31996 to receive a quick application. Someone from the CEFGA career placement team will follow up with the student for information on advanced training, apprenticeships, and even job placement.

Dwionne Freeman, CTAE Director for Atlanta Public Schools, commented on this support: “The students of APS deserve the opportunity to be exposed to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career opportunities in their own communities and CEFGA has been vital in supporting us to make that a reality.”