Brandon Moore (3)smallBy Matthew Clark, Director of Workforce Development at Jacobs The following blog is an excerpt from Industrial Projects Report and was originally published in March 2016. Attracting and retaining talented employees is a common challenge for today’s employers, particularly in the construction industry. In response, we here at Jacobs have shifted our focus from simply recruitment and development to establishing and maintaining a workforce that is skilled, safe, productive and sustainable. Our Journeyman Certification Program utilizes NCCER curricula to train and prepare employees to earn industry-recognized certifications and credentials. Our main objective is to certify every Jacobs journey‐level craft professional in the country. We do this without adding any financial burden to the participants because Jacobs covers all the costs. In addition, Jacobs has invested more than $250,000 in NCCER curricula purchases, and we have more than 350 NCCER trained and certified personnel to deliver the program. The organizational investment to provide journey‐level craft professionals with developmental opportunities strengthens our relationship with our most important asset, our people. Participants relate certification to advancement, a better lifestyle, a promising future and a shared purpose. While the program does not cost the participant financially, there is a significant time investment, typically at the end of the day. The message is clear: hard work will be rewarded with valuable credentials that can lead to advancement within our company. As for uncertified journeymen, they complete a pre-assessment process and a skills gap analysis, and from there a tailored training plan is developed to address any gaps. Importantly, the assessment is for identification of gaps only and not a condition of employment. Awareness of this relaxes the participant and helps relieve any test anxiety they may have.
Since 2014, more than 2,600 journeymen have participated in the program. At the inception of this program in January 2014, 7 percent of Jacobs journey-level craft professionals were NCCER Certified‐Plus. Today, more than 50 percent of our journey‐level workforce is NCCER certified.  Additionally, more than half of the remaining journeymen hold either an NCCER Performance or Knowledge Verification credential. Our goal is to have 95 percent of our journey-level workforce NCCER certified by Jan. 1, 2017.
It is exciting and rewarding to see each employee’s confidence and self-esteem increase through this program. Jacobs’ Journeyman Certification Program is the first step in career progression into leadership. Through the acquisition of knowledge and skills that lead to valuable NCCER credentials, journeymen can gain lifetime employability.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.