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Trade Up Program Supported by Contractor Groups, Corrections Programs | Construction News

Trade Up Program Supported by Contractor Groups, Corrections Programs | Construction News

The Southeastern Construction Owners & Associates Roundtable (SCOAR), an industrial construction association, has agreed to circulate lists of equipment needed by Trade Up to recruit, train, and qualify a skilled labor pipeline for contractors. 

The Trade Up platform, formed through cooperation between West Georgia Technical College, Crane Industry Services LLC, and ELA Consulting Group. The intent is mutual benefit for employees seeking rewarding, interesting careers, and employers seeking qualified people who are ready, willing and able to work.

“Skilled labor shortages are at the heart of corporate inefficiencies, but the good news is that American ingenuity is delivering solutions,” said Debbie Dickinson, CEO of CIS. In May, the SCOAR Board of Directors voted to support Trade Up by publishing a list of tools and equipment needed to train workers. The WGTC Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c)(3), will facilitate the donation of tools and equipment from contractors to be used on campuses and correctional facilities.

Representatives of the SCOAR Workforce Committee stated that the training is an excellent use for equipment being replaced on work sites. The general equipment wish list includes:

  • Lift equipment – chain fall hoists, industrial forklifts, cranes (mobile, tower or overhead), all types of lift equipment
  • Excavation equipment
  • Rigging gear – hooks, shackles, eyebolts, slings, wire rope, etc.
  • Safety – Hard hats, reflective vests, gloves, fall protection
  • Substation components
  • Hand and power tools used in construction


Second-Chance Careers

Using the NCCER crafts curriculum, Trade Up is working with special interest groups, such as veteran transition organizations, to welcome our service men and women home to good jobs and quality employers.  In addition, Trade Up is working with numerous correctional facilities to identify people who desire to reinvent themselves through education and skill-based training.

Recently Dickinson, CEO of CIS, participated in a panel discussion moderated by NCCER’s John Havlick at the 71st Correctional Education Association Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Other panelists included Brian Robinson of Englewood, Colo.-based TIC Inc., an industrial contractor serving power, energy, mining, and marine markets, Rex Rhone of the Texas Department of Corrections, and Mike Valdez of the California Department of Corrections.

Dickinson shared the example of Carroll County (Ga.) Prison, which is planning a training center to be built by prisoners under the guidance of skilled craft professionals. “It has the power to open the doors of prison to a life of productivity and value,” she said.  Inmates train and can earn NCCER certifications in welding, mobile crane operations, qualified rigging, excavation, steel erection, and working near power lines. “Our goal is that after re-entry, they will never see this facility, or a similar one again. They will be too busy raising families, working, building their communities and lives,” said Dickinson.

Carroll County Corrections, using the Trade Up platform and instructors from WGTC and CIS, will begin a new program for certifying crane operators this fall. They are using four different types of lift equipment retired from military service in the Middle East.

“With as little as six months of training, people can begin working in their selected trade. A full trade curriculum takes about two years. Trade Up uses an immersion process that surrounds the trainees with a work environment experience while they are building skills,” explained Dickinson.


Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.