The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Pelican Chapter represents the Baton Rouge and St. Charles areas of Louisiana and grew from the initial Louisiana State ABC chapter headquartered in New Orleans. ABC chapters across the country have a long-standing commitment to NCCER curriculum and craft training programs, and the Pelican Chapter is no exception. Accredited as a Training Sponsor in 2001, ABC Pelican Chapter is responsible for the training of over 2,000 students per year. Each student who successfully completes the training program receives an NCCER credential, ranging from level completion to knowledge verification.The member contractors represented in the ABC Pelican Chapter are familiar with NCCER credentials and require them for their craft professionals.
As of August 2013, the ABC Pelican Chapter employs over 100 NCCER certified instructors. The ABC Pelican Chapter sponsor representative estimates that 70-75% of all craft trainees who enroll in a program graduate with NCCER credentials. Specific craft training is offered for the following crafts:
- NCCER Core
- Heavy Equipment Operations
- Mobile Crane Operations
ABC Pelican chapter offers written assessments and Performance Verification (PV) in all NCCER crafts and is also an Endorsed Accredited Assessment Center for Mobile Crane, Rigging and Signal Person Performance Verifications. For Performance Verifications in other crafts, the ABC Pelican Chapter looks to contractors who are Accredited Assessment Centers to offer PVs to those craft professionals they hire. Eligible contractors assess employees on the job site in order for craft professionals to attain the NCCER Certified Plus credential.
The ABC Pelican Chapter, and its contractors, are currently partnering with area high schools and career centers to donate and sponsor technical classes. The partnerships started with contact being made and maintained by a Director of Workforce Development as well as training personnel with member contractors. This started in the late 90’s and continues today.
Through its effort to maintain and support technical education programs in the surrounding area, ABC has worked to develop this partnership and helped encourage these efforts. It is through these efforts that the Adopt-A-School program was born in 2003. This program has experienced exceptional growth since its inception and was renamed to Program Partners in 2007. Program Partners is a joint venture between ABC, area schools/career centers, and ABC member contractors. There are 15 ABC contractor members partnered with 43 schools/career centers in the Greater Baton Rouge multi-parish area. Through these programs, there are 76 career training classes being offered to area students.
Having contractors invested in the students and programs is essential to the success of the school partnership initiative. Contractors donate time, money, consumables, sponsor field trips, guest speak for classes and attend career and job fairs.
When asked for advice on successfully developing a partnership with a school, the ABC Pelican Chapter sponsor representative offered, “contact career and technical supervisors, coordinators, and directors first to tell them what you would like to do and why. Then take the plan to school board personnel and with their approval, to the schools themselves. Maintain relationships and do not let them stagnate.”
Program Costs & Benefits
The ABC Pelican Chapter has an annual operations budget of approximately $2 million. Funding is sourced from member contractors and educational grants. For the 2013 fall semester, the ABC Pelican Chapter is at capacity with 1,400 students and according to the sponsor representative, almost all students who graduate, find a construction craft job immediately. These graduates are seen as highly employable since the contractors and plants in the area require NCCER credentials for employment.
The ABC Pelican Chapter attributes the success of their craft training program to the tremendous assistance from both local industry and the contractors that support it. By closely monitoring the submission of all NCCER forms, and carefully hiring qualified instructors, the ABC Pelican chapter has been able to maintain its reputation as the premier training facility in the Baton Rouge area.