Roslyn Eaden Hasn’t Looked Back Since Making a Mid-Life Transition to a Career in Construction
For Roslyn Eaden, the seeds of a construction career were planted in her Atlanta-area home, where she had long enjoyed tinkering with repairs and self-taught renovation projects.
“I really liked the before and after,” Roslyn says. “That excited me, to create something from nothing, and for it to look the way I envisioned it.”
By day Roslyn worked for an armored car service, doing a variety of jobs ranging from driver to messenger to auditor to payroll administrator. After more than 20 years, she was ready for a career change – and she had a good idea of what that should be.
While Mercedes-Benz Stadium was under construction, Roslyn had seen a local news story about CEFGA’s Construction Ready program. As she recalls, “I said to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
Roslyn left her job, deciding that “it was just time to get out and start doing what I wanted to do. I did what they all say – step out on faith and just go for it.”
She initially had trouble tracking down the program she had learned about on local television. But after eight months out of work, she attended a job fair hosted by Georgia Congressman David Scott and met Veda White, CEFGA’s Student Success Manager for Construction Ready.
“I could have jumped over the table and hugged her,” Roslyn recalls with a laugh. “That’s how happy I was to find [Construction Ready].”
Roslyn enrolled in classes at Construction Ready’s Georgia Hill location in May 2018. As a military veteran – she spent three years in the Army after graduating from high school – she understood the program’s boot camp mindset and was ready for the challenge.
“They give it to you straight, what it’s going to be all about,” she says. “I was prepared for it. I was all in.”
Upon graduating, Roslyn was hired by Alpharetta-based Precision Concrete Construction. The work was intense, but she embraced it.
“I got out there and really worked, from moving two-by-fours and lifting plywood to pumping trenches and footings, and I lost 50 pounds in a matter of two months,” she says. “I wanted to show I’m a part of this crew and I’m going to pull my weight, so you don’t have to worry about that. Construction Ready prepares you, but you have to get out there and work. You have to do your part. You have to let them know you’re there to get the work done and learn as much as you can as you go.”
Roslyn has continued to learn, not just on the job, but through CEFGA’s Construction Ready PLUS curriculum as well. Available to Construction Ready graduates who have been employed for at least 90 days, Construction Ready PLUS provides advanced instruction, leadership training and the opportunity to earn additional industry-recognized credentials.
Roslyn attended Saturday classes during the summer of 2019, graduating on August 24. She found the experience has benefitted her work both on the job and at home.
“In the initial [Construction Ready] course, nobody was working in construction at the time,” she says. “But when you go to Construction Ready PLUS, people have worked, they have a little bit of experience, and you have different trades in the room, and you can hear about each other’s experiences on different job sites.
“I soaked up everything I could,” she continues. “There were things I thought I already knew, like when I’m at home and I’m sawing and cutting and thinking I’m doing something right. When I was going through the course, I was learning how to actually do it the right way. It felt good to have someone say, ‘This is the right way, and this is the reason you do it this way.’”
As Roslyn has advanced her hands-on skills, she’s also demonstrated leadership abilities that have caught the eye of her co-workers and supervisors. She recalls one moment, for example, when she took the initiative to address a safety hazard she spotted on a job site.
“We were getting ready to go on break and we were walking across a slab and there were these holes that had been created,” she says. “I started moving plywood over the holes, and when my crew saw me doing it, they started helping. They were like, ‘Good job, Roslyn; that could have dangerous.’ Sometimes you have to be the one to go first.”
At her Construction Ready PLUS graduation, Roslyn says she told her fellow graduates, “I’m going to leave you with three words: Watch me win. That’s my plan.” And she is carrying out that plan. Roslyn now is in training for a field engineer position with Precision, a job that carries more leadership responsibility and room for advancement.
“I want to be a leader,” she says, “and I want to be a good leader – the kind who stands out for the right reasons, for doing things the right way – and have good people behind me who are willing to do the work, because they know I’m going to be fair. And maybe I can inspire a few people along the way who originally may not have wanted to be a leader, or felt like they couldn’t do it. I want them to know that they can do it – just go for it.”
Looking back on her decision to change careers, Roslyn certainly went for it. She’s thrilled with the results, and grateful for the opportunity from CEFGA to make it happen.
“I am a walking billboard for this program,” she says. “They gave us these pants to wear in Construction Ready. I wear them to work four days a week, because I have four pairs. I’ll be out on a site and people will say, ‘Where did you get those pants from?’ That gives me the opportunity to tell them about the program. Any opportunity I get to talk about the program, that’s what I do, and I sell it, because it’s really easy to sell something that you believe in.”
Learn more about Construction Ready at constructionready.us.