Community Build1croppedBy Cheryl Stewart, Executive Director of the Inland Northwest Chapter of Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) A few years ago, a chance meeting with a local law enforcement official started a chain of events that led our AGC chapter to dramatically expand community service work. In 2013, the Spokane, Washington, police academy’s rangemaster, Sgt. Matthew Cowles, happened to be driving by AGC’s Inland Northwest chapter headquarters and decided to stop in and speak with me about recruiting AGC members to volunteer labor to build a new rifle range at the academy. I was initially skeptical about how the project would work for our individual members because the 10-month time frame was so long. They might be able to send someone over there for a day or two, but not several months. However, I called our apprenticeship director, and he felt it would be an ideal way to augment our apprenticeship training and allow apprentices to fulfill their hands-on training tasks. Community Build2To complete the project, our heavy equipment apprentices excavated, placed and graded approximately 25,000 cubic yards of material to develop the 100-yard-long range and the 20-foot-high earthen berm that serves as its backdrop. Labor and carpentry apprentices worked to construct the covered patio where shooters stand, the target pad, an eyebrow structure at the top of the berm to catch stray bullets and a small office building for the rangemaster. Once members saw the kind of work the apprentices were doing, more and more contractors and associates got involved. In total, 25 members donated labor and building materials. Today, the range serves more than 40 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as active duty military, military reserves and ROTC troops. The venture not only provided a first-class facility for the region’s law enforcement and military, but also an invaluable benefit for AGC’s apprentices. The rifle range project proved so successful that AGC National honored our chapter with the annual AGC In the Community Award, which is given to chapter and member service projects that exemplify charitable giving. Now that word has spread, we’re getting lots of organizations approaching us to see if we can help with other projects. This new focus on community service has allowed our chapter to revamp apprenticeship training, making it more meaningful for both our apprentices and member contractors who employ them. Community Build1   Cover with title For the rest of the story, read the Community Builders article in NCCER’s Cornerstone magazine.

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