Surrounded by supporters wearing "Go Build" hardhats, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on Jan. 17 announced the creation of Go Build Georgia, a promotional initiative aimed at raising the awareness of the value of careers in the skilled trades.
The governor even enlisted the assistance of Mike Rowe, star of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, to promote the program. Rowe, who is involved with the original Go Build organization in Alabama, offered his support of the Georgia program in the governor’s announcement, and will be featured in related advertising.
Despite the construction industry's current high unemployment rate, the governor’s announcement contends the state is suffering from a shortage of skilled labor, with an estimated 16,500 related jobs projected to "become available" in the state.
"Go Build Georgia brings together education and business stakeholders to further develop our workforce," Gov. Deal said in a press statement.
The Georgia initiative is partly the result of efforts by the Alabama Workforce Development Initiative, a Birmingham-based 501(c)3 organization that helped create the "Go Build" brand in 2010. Since then, the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) has officially endorsed the program.
AWDI worked with the Georgia Office of Workforce Development, Atlanta, to assist in establishing the program there, and will continue to support the group via the websites, www.gobuildalabama.com and www.gobuildgeorgia.com, says Robin Oliver, a spokesperson for Go Build.
The initiative focuses strictly on promotion and education. In Alabama, the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, a state agency created at the urging of AWDI, runs the Go Build program, which is funded by companies that pay a fee of roughly $90 for each $100,000 in skilled trade labor they employ. Also, a host of industry associations, such as the Alabama chapters of Associated General Contractors of America and Associated Builders & Contractors, officially support the program.
In Georgia, the governor's Office of Workforce Development will oversee the project. No state funding will be used for the program, says Catie Campbell, a public relations officer with OWD. The state used a federal grant to launch and promote the program via a six-week "tour" of the state by OWD officials that will begin in February. Local officials involved with existing training programs, along with local contractors, are expected to participate.
Industry support from within Georgia has yet to be established, but early signs indicate a similar pattern to Alabama's effort.