GUCA Addresses Workforce Gap with New Apprenticeship Training Program
FOREST PARK, GA — The Georgia Utility Contractors Association (GUCA) announces the formation of and approved by U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship for the Utility Construction Craft Laborer Apprenticeship Training program.
This is the first of its kind in Georgia and the United States. The program consists of 293-plus hours of safety and craft training and 4,000 hours of hands-on work process with a utility contractor. After completion the apprentice will receive a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship.
“With the help of U.S. Department of Labor Region 3, Georgia State Director William Kraus and Sonya Lovelady, Apprenticeship and Training Representative, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship, the GUCA had a seamless experience in putting this program together,” said Vikki Consiglio, GUCA Executive Director.
The apprenticeship program’s objective is to provide on-the-job learning combined with related instruction in order to train utility construction craft laborers on the skills necessary for an entry level position in the utility contracting industry. Not only does the training provided by the program help the industry’s labor shortage problem, but the program also offers an opportunity for utility contractors to become more competitive when bidding for work subject to the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. Apprenticeship programs have long been solely within the purview of unions within the various construction trades. GUCA’s approved apprenticeship program is not sponsored by any union, but is instead sponsored by the Association itself,” said GUCA member Philip Siegel, Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Siegel.
“We have tried many avenues to help our members find their future workforce. We already have a school to work program but wanted to expand that workforce development effort toward adults,” said Consiglio.
GUCA is promoting the apprenticeship program to High Schools, Minority and Disability Business Development Associations, and Community Workforce Development organizations.
“GUCA is also partnering with the Department of Corrections in training non-violent offenders which will help provide career opportunities for those who may not have had the ability in the past,” said Consiglio. “We are excited about this partnership which will provide a threefold opportunity – lower the rate of recidivism by providing job opportunities – help keep cost of incarceration down for tax payers – provide a workforce for the utility construction industry,” states Consiglio.