President and CEO of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) Scott Shelar is in the studio for today’s Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio episode. Joined by co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick, the group discusses the organization and its shift to social media in 2020 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, as well as the programs it offers to inform people about careers in construction and skilled trades.
While not an Atlanta native, Shelar moved to the city back in 1998 to work on the Paralympic Games. After three years, he decided to pass up on the opportunity to move to Sydney, Australia for the 2000 Paralympic Games and instead chose to put down roots in Atlanta. Construction comes naturally to Shelar as his own grandfather was a residential developer in Florida. He started his career working with Associated General Contractors of Georgia (AGC) where he first recognized the need for skilled workers in construction. Fascinated by this shortage, he joined an opportunity to lead CEFGA where he has been working for 22 years.
The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) is an organization dedicated to placing people of all ages, backgrounds and genders into work in the construction industry, specifically those seeking to start their careers with entry-level jobs. While the construction industry is incredibly diverse, CEFGA focuses primarily on skill trades and helping people get into careers within the electrical, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing and masonry industries. CEFGA also helps employ people into careers in development, commercial, residential and general contracting.
CEFGA understands that some people have a hard time finding good jobs they truly enjoy. That is why Shelar and the professionals within the organization believe more people should consider careers in construction and skilled trades. Through several of its programs, including Construction Ready, CEFGA can train and place someone in a job in as little as 20 days!
CEFGA is proud of the programs it offers to help bring skilled workers to the construction industry. In partnership with the Arthur M Blank Family Foundation, the Construction Ready Program is an entry-level training program that trains residents in just 20 days while also giving them eight industry-recognized credentials and soft skills necessary for the job. The program played a big role in the construction of Mercedes Benz Stadium and has placed over 1,100 metro Atlanteans into construction-related jobs since 2014. The program recently received a grant that allows it to expand its services statewide to Savannah, Augusta and Athens. The Construction Ready program works with CW Matthews, Turner Construction and other notable businesses. It is currently offered in Cobb County and will be expanding to additional Georgia cities in 2021.
Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, CEFGA experienced forced innovation as it transitioned its events to social platforms. In fact, its annual Career Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center, was cut short at the beginning of March 2020 as the pandemic first began to touch down in the state. This annual gathering is the biggest event hosted by CEFGA all year and would have hosted more than 5,000 students from across the state. According to Shelar, canceling the event was the hardest professional decision he has made.
While the pandemic certainly forced CEFGA to figure out how to connect with people and bring awareness to the industry, it also made the organization more efficient by allowing it to connect with people all over the world, including students, parents and teachers. Back in April, the CEFGA began hosting Facebook Live’s every Tuesday. Hosted by Kayleen McCabe, these 30-minute sessions feature different guests within the industry. Upcoming topics include construction-ready programs, post-secondary education options, technical colleges, women in construction and architecture.
Switching to Facebook Live events was an efficient way to continue to reach CEFGA’s audience. It allowed the company to offer a range of voices, reaching people across Georgia in a way that’s safe. The shows reach thousands of people each week! In 2021, CEFGA will double those efforts! It is currently planning more than 40 live social media events in the upcoming year.
While the organization often speaks with superintendents of construction companies like JE Dunn and Holder, it also enjoys highlighting special projects taking place throughout Georgia like Plant Vogtle. Upcoming project features in 2021 include Atlanta’s exciting new development, Centennial Yard’s, as well as the construction taking place at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Of course, with education at its core, CEFGA also enjoys highlighting area educators who specialize in helping students transition from high school to career or college.
In 2021, Shelar is excited to shift CEFGA once again, this time into the residential industry. While CEFGA currently focuses on the commercial side with projects like Centennial Yards and Hartsfield Jackson, it also recognizes the hot market of residential construction and the importance of diversifying connections within the construction industry. CEFGA is also soon releasing a social platform specifically designed for craft professionals to efficiently connect with each other and find jobs within the industry.
To learn more about the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) and its mission to minimize the skilled worker shortage, listen to the full podcast above. You can also visit the website www.cefga.org or www.constructionready.org to learn more about their services and partner with them in their efforts.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and CEFGA are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of the products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (February/2021)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
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