Construction Ready Helped Industry Veteran Kris Rine Jumpstart a Stalled Career
Unlike many graduates of CEFGA’s Construction Ready program, Kris Rine was already an industry veteran when he enrolled in March 2019. He had years of experience building houses and he was a licensed plumber in Alabama, where he had lived for a decade before moving to Georgia in late 2018.
But as Kris soon discovered, there still was plenty to be gained from this initiative that has changed hundreds of lives since its 2014 launch. One benefit was the soft skills he learned, from building a resume to building relationships.
“I grew up in an industry where you had to be tough as nails, and that’s changed a lot now,” Kris says. “My last job, before I came to Atlanta, I had for 10 years. I wasn’t used to filling out a job application; it was just walk up on a job, a handshake, and you started work.
“Now everything is on email and the internet, and I wasn’t real familiar with that,” he continues. “I didn’t know how to put a resume together. The instructor taught us a lot about those things, and also about being humble, how to approach people. It’s helped me tremendously.”
Construction Ready turned out to be Kris’s ticket out of dire circumstances following his move to Georgia. He came because of an appealing job offer in Jonesboro, but the company went out of business three weeks after his arrival.
“They offered me a bus ticket back to Alabama,” he says, but he saw metro Atlanta’s thriving construction industry and decided to take his chances on finding more work in the area. Instead, he soon ended up not only without a job, but without a home as well.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go,” Kris recalls. “I didn’t know anybody. I had never been on the street; I had never even seen a homeless person til I came to Atlanta. It was a struggle just to eat every day.”
Kris heard about Construction Ready and applied for classes at the program’s Westside Works location. He found temporary housing at a local rescue mission and formed a support network through the church he had begun attending, First Baptist Atlanta. Upon graduating, he was hired by the Circle Group, an Alpharetta-based contractor specializing in drywall, stud framing and other interior services.
Now he’s got a steady salary again, plus medical, dental and life insurance, and he’s loving the work, which so far has been upscale condo projects in Buckhead.
Just as Kris learned about Construction Ready via word of mouth, he now recommends it to other people he meets. He raves about his instructor, Yolanda Davis – “It was a blessing having her; she is really an awesome person,” he says – and he cites the eight national and industry-recognized credentials as unique among construction training programs he’s seen in his career.
“I’ve been a supervisor on different jobs, I’ve worked in two different states, and I’ve never seen a program like this,” Kris says. “I had certifications – I’m forklift certified, I can operate heavy equipment – but for free, and all those certifications? One company is not going to certify you in so many different areas, there’s just no reason, so it’s really amazing that there’s a program that will do that. And they brought us lunch every day!”
VIDEO: Kris talks about talks about the soft skills lessons that are as much a part of Construction Ready as the hands-on skills training, and how it all benefitted him when he needed a job the most. Learn more about Construction Ready at constructionready.us, and follow us on our YouTube channel to hear from more successful Construction Ready graduates.