Construction Ready Led Ira Ulmer to a New Career, Personal Growth and a Return Home

For Ira Ulmer, Construction Ready was the catalyst for a true full-circle story: It led him from New York to Atlanta and ultimately back to his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ira was working a general labor construction job when he learned about CEFGA and Construction Ready – in a New York library, of all places. He had been searching for new opportunities and was so enticed by the possibility of adding eight industry credentials to his resume, he moved to Atlanta so he could enroll in the program.

That was in late 2019; he began Construction Ready at Build Cobb classes in February 2020, graduated in March and now works for J. Construction, a masonry company serving southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

“It’s kind of funny how things work out like that,” Ira says. “Construction Ready was probably one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. It really prepares you for what it’s going to be like on the job site. They get you into the mindset of what the foreman expects and what you’re going to be doing.”

Ira says learning masonry skills has been a challenge. But he loves the process and sees the potential of a trade that – like so many construction disciplines – is in demand and has plenty of jobs to fill.

“With this type of work, it’s never going to go away,” he says. “There’s so much to learn – it’s non-stop, something new every day. I make mistakes, but I just keep showing up and trying to learn from those mistakes. I enjoy constantly learning new things and watching things get built, literally from the ground up.”

Ira’s foreman, Brad Heine, says his thirst for knowledge serves him well as he pursues his new career. “He came to us with really no masonry experience,” Heine says, “but he has quickly learned on the job and done very well in getting up to speed. He’s bought his own tools, he’s eager to learn, and we’re glad to have him.”

When Ira walked into that library, he had no idea of the journey he was about to begin. A year later, he wholeheartedly endorses Construction Ready to anyone who might be considering a construction career.

“It’s changed my life completely,” he says. “From the connections, to what I’ve learned about construction, to even what I’ve learned about myself – as you’re going through the class, they’re not just teaching you about construction, they’re teaching you about so many other things. I encourage anybody to go through that program. Really, I wish I had come to Georgia sooner to do it.”

Learn more about Construction Ready at constructionready.org.

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