• Marin Builders Association IN THE NEWS: Newly Trained Marin County Construction Students are Ready to Hire

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    December 16, 2021
    CHERYL SARFATY
    THE NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
    December 10, 2021

    Marin County construction companies may soon be competing for a new group of qualified workers, thanks to a tuition-free education program for the Latinx community.

    The College of Marin, in partnership with San Rafael-based Canal Alliance and the Marin Builders Association, on Dec. 11 will graduate 18 students, the latest group to earn their construction skills certificate after completing the program.

    “Our E2C (education to careers) construction students … have an 87% program success rate, and 70% of them go on to find full-time employment,” said Alina Varona, dean of Career Education & Workforce Development at College of Marin. “Students on average see (an hourly) wage growth from $20.69 to $25.94 after completing the program.”

    The training program launched in September 2018 to provide the technical skills needed for a career in the construction industry, as well as job placement services, financial coaching and personal support to help ensure long-term career success. All three partners contribute their own resources to fund the program, which is held twice a year over the course of three months.

    In order to graduate, students must complete 24 hours of lectures and 42 hours of lab work, according to Regina Vindel, workforce career supervisor at Canal Alliance, a nonprofit that offers immigration legal services, education and career programs to help Latino immigrants and their families overcome the barriers to success.

    Canal Alliance checks in with the graduates every six months for two years to make sure their careers are staying on track, Vindel said.

    “This is where we see the growth in pay rates, which is really wonderful to see,” she said. “I think the (course) also gives them confidence.”

    That is true for Miguel Gonzalez, one of the students who graduated over the weekend. He currently works two jobs, one at a restaurant and another for a landscaping firm. His ultimate goal is to own a landscaping company.

    “I thought it would be a wonderful idea to go to the construction class because I didn't have any idea how to use several tools,” said Gonzalez, who enrolled after his brother raved about his own experience with the program. “I'm now studying to get my license for contractor landscaping.”

    The Marin Builders Association’s main role in the program is to be the facilitator between job seekers and industry firms, said Rick Wells, CEO.

    “We help with their resumes, identify the industry that they want to work in and identify their starting wage needs,” Wells said. “Then we provide that packet of resumes to our membership of 570 construction firms across Marin County.”


    Wells said Marin Builders Association has been involved in the partnership since the program began.

    “We continue to be really honored to be included in this partnership,” he said, “because we are making a difference in the lives of young people in our community. And we're helping our industry find trained workers. So, it's truly a win-win-win.”


    The College of Marin is now working with Canal Alliance and By the Bay Health on another E2C program, this one within the health care field, Varona said. The partners are creating a dual-certified nursing assistant and certified home-health aid training program, in collaboration with local agencies and employers.

    “This training would provide a much-needed career pathway for low-income immigrant workers in Marin and support connection to living wages and opportunities for advancement in health care,” she said.

    .Miguel Gonzalez has completed his construction skills certificate through the College of Marin, with plans to one day own his own landscaping business. (Photo courtesy Canal Alliance-December 2021)
    Contact:
    Caran Cuneo, Director of Workforce Training Programs
    education@marinbuilders.com
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