iBuild Central Florida: Building the Next Generation of Construction Workers

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“We need to change the way society views blue-collar workers.” - Debbie Rodriguez, Founder/President of iBuild Central Florida

In the construction industry, the need for highly skilled construction workers currently exceeds the number of workers who are trained and readily available. This is, in part, due to the unwarranted stigmas that are placed against trade schools, construction workers, and the construction industry as a whole.

Founded in December of 2015, iBuild Central Florida is an organization comprised of several industry leaders with a shared goal: creating a “one-stop-shop for industry apprenticeship programs, associations, businesses looking to hire, job descriptions, salary projections, and success stories.” Through this mission, iBuild has partnered with several local organizations including Valencia College, Orange Technical College, The Academy of Construction Technologies, and several more!

It is amazing to see the level of involvement by all the local construction professionals. As always, the community has jumped in to help make this organization grow and thrive. But things are only getting started!

We had the opportunity to connect with Debbie Rodriguez, Founder & President of iBuild Central Florida to get a closer look at the great work being done in our community. Debbie took all of this while continuing to work at Quality Labor Management. Her accomplishment in getting this organization off the ground is amazing! For Debbie, one of the most rewarding experiences so far has been “Watching the growth of the education system and the industry unselfishly working to improve our community.” Through this strategic collaboration, iBuild has had 3 successful bowling fundraisers, implemented a program called “Connecting the Classrooms,” created a merit shop carpentry apprenticeship program, and is currently working on an event called “The iBuild Invitational.” This invitational will have 3 unique components, a skill competition, a job fair, and an awards/signing ceremony. Participants will be awarded a cash prize and industry partners will have the opportunity to sign individuals for full-time jobs.

When asked about what made her decide to start iBuild, Debbie had this to say:

“I was tired of listening to the industry talk about the shortage of trades and knew there was a way to work together so that students could learn of the successful paths that the industry has to offer. Apprenticeships and vocational training are an alternative to a college path – success isn’t measured by a degree.”

Speaking to this quote a little more, we asked Debbie what one of the most common myths/stigmas that she hears and to provide her view on it.

“I think when I hear- What college did you go to or where are you going to college is what is most frustrating. We should be asking – how do you plan to be successful in life?

By providing the resources and education for future construction workers to utilize as a pathway for success, the myths that surround the industry can be successfully debunked. Let’s take a closer look at one of these myths below.

Myth: There is no demand for construction workers.

In Florida alone, there is currently a need for over 1,000,000 workers for projects that are planned through 2027. In 2017, 46,600 Florida construction firms were hiring full-time positions. Also, 54% of the labor market is comprised of trade jobs.

RedTeam is proud to work closely with iBuild Central Florida in preparing the next generation of construction professionals. If you are interested in donating or finding out more, check out their website here: https://ibuildcentralflorida.com/

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