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ICRF sees success and growth with new program to train skilled construction workforce

Hiring Hoosiers
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Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 09:49:09-05

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hiring Hoosiers first covered the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation's new training program in February, when the course was still relatively new to Central Indiana. It offers classes for adults interested in entering the construction industry. Since the program began, ICRF has been growing across the state in both size and diversity.

The BY Program bridges the gap of entry-level workers to employers in the Indianapolis market.

The ICRF is dedicated to filling the state's construction industry with an educated workforce. In classrooms across Central Indiana, adults of all backgrounds and ages are participating in a one-of-its-kind learning experience.

"A student coming to this class is not going into a traditional classroom setting," says Chris Price, the President of ICRF. "They are going into a setting where every day they are meeting with different types of employers, and at the end of this program, they have the opportunities to get hired on with those employers."

With about one year of courses done, Price says the program is seeing fast growth. The foundation has added locations across the state, and about 300 participants are set to graduate b the end of the year, with the skills and credentials they need to start a career.

"This class is comparative to year one apprenticeship training so the students who go through this class, they have their OSHA 10 under their belt, which is important to employers," explains Price. "They are going to have basic confidence to walk onto a job site."

Plus, the program is open to any Hoosier applicant regardless of their background.

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"We have people right out of high school, and they are using this to connect to their career," says Price. "They have never had a traffic ticket to people who have serious backgrounds. So this program is creating success stories for people of a variety of backgrounds."

After just six weeks in the classroom, students are prepared to take the skills they learned here directly to the worksite, where a majority of graduates are employed within three months, like Daniel Perryman here who has been with Blakely Cooperation since April.

"I read the paperwork to it, and it kinda sounded too good to be true, but I can tell you that they stood by every word that they said," says Perryman. "It was definitely I'd say educational, because the tools that I took from that class, I was able to bring here and exceed."

Perryman is a concrete and labor apprentice at Blakely's. He has already received a raise and says he continues to grow within his role.

"I have a background of myself that is not traditionally easy to get into companies and into a career," states Perryman. "The pay is really good, and I am great with my hands. And I needed a career, not so much of a job."

As a dad of six kids under the age of four, Perryman hopes others take advantage of the ICRF program too. Perryman has already recruited more than 30 Hoosiers to follow in his footsteps.

"If you are looking for an honest paying job and you are a hard worker, don't mind getting up and in on time every morning, they have got work for you," explains Perryman.

It is not just about the job for him; it is about a career path that will let his family live comfortably, and he can feel positive about the work he does.

"Oh, it has changed dramatically," says Perryman. "My pay has increased, I am able to do things that I probably would not have been able to do if I would not have stepped into a career. I was able to travel the state. I was able to travel out of state this year. Being here at Blakely is definitely changing me, all for the good."

Price says they see more diversity in their classes as well. As an industry of skilled trades, women make up about three percent of the workforce, and African Americans make up a little less than six percent. Now, ICRF's class enrollment continues to find a closer balance with women making up about 20 percent and African American Hoosiers making up about 80 percent of the classes.

ICRF courses are free to participate in as grants and public/private funding cover it.

Apply and learn more here.

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