Construction Ready

Recent Barrow County high school graduates recently underwent training through the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia "Construction Ready" program at Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology. 

The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) recently brought its 20-day “Construction Ready” program to Barrow County with recent high school graduates receiving instruction.

Participants received training, industry recognized certificates and job placement, according to a news release. The Barrow training was hosted by Sims Academy for Innovation and Technology in partnership with the Barrow County School System and Foothills Education Charter High School.

The class included nine recent area high school graduates who earned the following eight certificates:

•National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Credential

•OSHA 10-Hour Card

•First Aid/CPR/BB/AED Certification

•Powder Actuated Tool Certification

•Laser Tool Certification

•Forklift Safety Awareness

•A.T.S.S.A. Utility Flagger Certification

•Competent Person Training in Fall Protection

“Construction Ready is a fine example of why Sims Academy exists for Barrow County and our entire region,” Sims Academy CEO Dale Simpson said in the release. “This is a perfect example of how we can leverage partnerships and innovation for the betterment of our students and community.”

The expansion of Construction Ready into northeast Georgia is part of a major growth of the program across the state, financed in part by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund (a part of the federal the CARES Act). In August 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp announced CEFGA was selected to receive $3.3 million to expand the Construction Ready program. The GEER funding supports important education and workforce training to help Georgians move past the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

Since 2014, CEFGA through the Construction Ready program has trained more than 1,200 workers of all ages for careers in construction and had seen some successes, according to the release. Officials noted a 97% job placement rate by the end of training with an average starting salary of $12-15 an hour, with 70% of the program’s participants still with their same employer after one year.

“We are excited to expand the Construction Ready program and support recent high school graduates,” said CEFGA president and CEO Scott Shelar. “There are construction jobs in the midst of this pandemic, and we need Georgians trained and certified to fill those positions across the state.”

The goal of the Construction Ready program is to help close an ongoing workforce skills gap, leaders said. The Nationwide Workforce Initiative found in a study that for every five people that retire from the skilled professions, there is only one apprentice to fill the job, according to the release. In 2019, the lack of skilled workers in Georgia was calculated to be more than 61,000 workers.

“It’s great to see CEFGA allocating Georgia’s GEER funding to recent high school graduates who can benefit from the Construction Ready program,” Kemp said in the release. “These are challenging times for our state, but we will continue to work around the clock to support our students with workforce training, improve outcomes, and get hardworking Georgians back to work.”

More information on the Construction Ready program and CEFGA can be found by visiting

More information about Sims Academy can be found by visiting


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