First-Generation Immigrant Finds Career with Precision Concrete through Build Cobb Partnership

John Ekeoma is a man with a smile that’s larger than life. He is a first-generation Nigerian immigrant who entered the U.S. with nothing more than hope and the sheer determination required to secure a brighter future for himself.

For two years, John struggled to make ends meet by working odd jobs earning anywhere from $50-$100 a week. In his spare time, he visited hiring fairs in search of the elusive career he so desperately sought after…a permanent position earning a livable wage.

It was one such endeavor that led John to a Build Cobb Partnership information session. He jumped at the opportunity and applied for the class. In just 4 short weeks, John learned the skills and earned the credentials necessary to begin his career in the construction industry.

Each class graduates with a hiring fair. John was employed by Precision Concrete Construction, Inc. earning $14.50 an hour and is now truly living the American dream!

Build Cobb Partnership is a collaboration of CobbWorks, Inc., The Collective at Cumberland Community Church, the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) and HB NEXT. The program provides an intensive four-week construction skills training class along with job placement assistance.

The initiative came about after recent reports by construction sector experts identified an immediate, real-world need for more workers with construction-related skills. In response, CobbWorks, Cobb’s workforce development non-profit agency, worked with its partners to implement this short-term, community-based model for fast-tracked, scalable construction workforce training.

The primary goals of the Build Cobb Partnership project include:

  1. Create a demand-driven pipeline of workers with construction-related skills to help address the current and future workforce needs of local businesses and support economic development efforts in our Cobb community;
  2. Provide eligible trainees with skills to become quickly employed in a growth-oriented, career-laddered job;
  3. Promote the continued education, and thus career and pay progression, of training graduates through enrollment in post-secondary educational programs, advanced skill training opportunities, registered apprenticeships, etc.;
  4. Utilize the project to help inclusively coordinate organizations, programs and resources within the geographic area of the project to support positive community development.

As of September 2015, two class cycles saw a total of 34 graduates with 100% job placement at program completion.

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