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News June 27, 2019

Northern California construction programs see rise in teen participants

This year, the graduating class for the North Bay Construction Corps, which teaches construction skills to high school students, was 98 students compared with just seven students three years ago, according to

The program consists of a five-month training program plus a two-week boot camp. The program introduces high school seniors to careers in construction and the trades while allowing them to earn college credit. During the boot camp, students received real-world experience practicing their skills in building homes and becoming engaged with related projects while earning a trades scholarship.

“There is a definite gap for many students between high school and the ability to be adequately prepared for jobs in fields like construction,” says Robin Bartholow, corps director. “Experiencing the day-to-day realities of work, using your hands, operating tools and other equipment in a safe and proper manner, is better learned at worksites under the close supervision of skilled supervisors and mentors. Students need to build confidence and skills on the job combined with formal classroom training. Today, they also need these experiences so they can make informed decisions about their future path in life.”

In addition to a certificate of completion, graduates received a certificate from Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) congratulating them for their achievement and trade scholarships for $750 to be used for tools, work boots, tool belts, etc.

Bartholow says rather than simply being able to walk onto a job site and ask for work, it has become more important for workers to have skills and experience; a strong work ethic; determination; a willingness to learn, grow and be productive; and the ability to handle an eight-hour workday outdoors.

More than 75 industry partners provide funding, teachers, resources and facilities to help support the North Bay Construction Corps.


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