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Free program prepares Augustans for jobs in booming construction industry



AUGUSTA, Ga. – A new job training program is coming to Augusta, offering training for construction work. The city and Augusta Tech are teaming with a nonprofit to make it happen.

“Once I got into the program, oh man, it blew my mind.”

For Antonio Hitchcock, the Construction Ready program led him down a better road.

“It gave me an opportunity to give myself a change in my career, so as for me right now, I have doors opening left and right for me that I never had before,” he said.

The program funding comes from the CARES act and private donors.

It’s a 20-day program designed to teach the skills needed to enter the construction industry. At the end of the free class, participants will receive credentials and job placement.

The goal is to close the workforce skills gap. And is meant as a jumping-off point to better jobs.

“We’re turning out entry-level workers who can start in those fields, or start in those trades, and then they can grow into being a full skilled carpenter or fully skilled electrician,” Scott Shelar, president and CEO of Construction Ready, said.

According to the city of Augusta, we actually urgently need people trained in these careers.

They estimate we currently have about 800 to 1,000 construction jobs open in our area and ready to be filled.

“When you look at being able to bring training and jobs to Augustans, it’s extremely important, especially when the overall employment of construction laborers and helpers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029,” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. explained.

And according to Columbia County Planning and Development, construction is the fastest growing industry in our area. It’s grown by more than 6,000 jobs from 2014 to 2019.

It’s a guarantee that if you pour all yourself into something, and especially into this program, it’s a guarantee you’re going to walk out with a whole lot more,”

The first class starts in May and is limited to 20 people, and it’s first-come, first-served.

Students must live in Georgia, pass a drug test, and pass a 6th-grade level literacy test to qualify.

The program is 4 weeks long and if you’re interested, you can sign up at