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YCCA Boot Camp for Construction Trades

Welcome to “At Home with Tom & Sandy!”  Here we are warp-speeding into 2019. Speaking of warp speed, yes, Tom, I am exhausted, done-in, spent and dog-tired – and on the other end of the spectrum, exhilarated, ecstatic, delighted, joyful, overjoyed and euphoric.

Tom:  The month of January kept you going almost 24/7 with the fantastic Boot Camp you orchestrated. You and the YCCA are certainly going above and beyond to help with the labor shortage the construction industry is facing. Have you come up for air yet?

Sandy:  Indeed I have. For three weeks, I felt I was airborne, in-fight, mid-flight and sky-high with the YCCA Boot Camp. What a huge success. We had 27 young adults from our area participating, along with a grand group of local contractors, suppliers, engineers and even an architect adding to the education of the industry and life in general. 

Tom:  I have seen the brochure YCCA and you put out there, but I understand you utilized some very unconventional recruiting techniques. And not just for the students!

Sandy: So, it worked when I said to you, “Tom, you will be there, or else!” Our Boot Camp idea was overwhelming embraced by school officials. With their support, we reached our local graduating students and the majority of the young adults were from our local high schools.

Tom:  The young adults that I was privileged to work with all were attentive and genuine in their desire to learn. They wanted to learn, make a better life for themselves and their families, and obtain a position in a rewarding career.   

Sandy:  Tom, the project would never have been accomplished without a lot of help and dedication from our community. And with that, here are my big thanks to so many humans who had the desire to make a positive difference in 27 young, wonderful lives.

Tom: United Way’s Annette Olson stated the ball rolling when United Way awarded YCCA a $15,000 grant to make a metamorphosis in our community. The boot camp concept and an out-of-the-box idea was born.   

Sandy: The power of giving from United Way – along with the wonderful humans in our community who gave their patience, heart, soul and humor – made a positive difference in the lives of these young adults. To Greg, our bus driver for three weeks from Prescott Unified School District: Wow, PUSD is lucky to have Greg behind the wheel of the big yellow bus! How great it is that PUSD offers a bus for rent, at a very reasonable rate, with a driver. This was better than an Uber!

Tom: I was at the boot camp when life coach Deb Peterson of Coaching Clarity By Definition talked with the young adults. That was a great way to start the boot camp off. Deb’s words and communication were extraordinary and displayed love and warmth, which will affect their attitudes and life.    

Sandy: We also had a magnificent group of Prescott Area Young Professionals. They were fabulous and I really liked how their by-laws changed to allow this Baby Boomer to be a part of the PAYP organization. Tom, the way the PAYP spoke to these young adults about failures in life helped them understand that one failure does not make one a failure in life. 

Tom: I really liked the session on our local Women in Construction and the Job Expectations. Those two classes were monumental. Kathy from Haley Construction, Cindy from 2-A-T Construction, Rachel from Chino Heating & Cooling, Kim from The Plumbing Store and Brenda from Yavapai Mechanical are wonderful women in the industry shared what it is like to work in a man’s world. Allan and Jeff from Haley, Garth from Fann and Patrice from the City of Prescott made a difference in sharing what the workforce is like and what is expected of young adults when they go to work in any field or any service industry. Such nobility of purpose these professionals have and I know that their time spent with these young adults made a difference in their lives.

Sandy: We had five father and son teams talk to the young adults: Jim and Jimmy Johnson, Wyatt and Will Orr, Bill and William Gagnon, Mike and Brady Little and Chuck and Kurt Merritt. The father/son sharing of untiring devotion was so full of inspiration, passion and love of family and business.

Tom:  I heard nothing but glowing reports about the field trips and in classroom talks. 

Sandy: Yes, the field trips were exciting, all over Yavapai County. Chuck Merritt and his entire crew brought in more tools than I ever knew existed. Brent from Arizona Public Service gave a fantastic talk. Jim Reed from HR Quality Homes was so great! And, after listening to Josh Lewis from Foxworth, I wanted to fill out an employment application. Jon from Certa Pro and his team made painting sound outrageously exciting! Mike McCormick from Asphalt Paving & Supply arranged a field trip that was beyond exciting. The hands-on tours were so appreciated by the young adults. Keven Kullberg and Glen Copeland shared their loved of foundations and soils issues. And, of course, to you, Tom Reilly, hats off! A teacher of accomplishment you were with your blueprint reading and math skills. Thank you for giving your time and expertise many times throughout the course of three weeks.

Tom: I loved the roofing classroom time that was a hit thanks to Roger Barton of Badger Roofing and Greg Barstad of Granite Basin Roofing. The young adults loved the hands-on project that was created for them. And then there was Matt Greenlee, Greenlee Designer Surfaces. What a great teacher and Matt is an artist from the word “go.” Several of the young adults were interested in his field of work.

Sandy: Regarding Wyatt, BJ and Dan from Earth Resources, well, there are no words. Their untiring devotion and love of earth work and yellow metal and talk of family and respect for one another was held in high regard by these young adults. Tom, I cannot even begin to describe the sterling qualities that these men possess.

Tom: And then there was Chris Welborn from Vincente Landscaping. He sure did wow the young adults when he brought in his entire team and lots of equipment and talked about the thrill of landscaping.    

Sandy: And then the marvelous crew from JT’s Septic. We love those guys. Their true and faithful outstanding service to this community just gleams. It was wonderful to have Jim Crawford of Steel Erection and Maintenance and Pat Dugan from A Action Welding share the love of an industry that will never be obsolete. The inspiration and admiration that they have from their employees and that they display to others is an indication of devotion to education of our youth. I mentioned to Jim that it would be thrilling to be female steel erector. He took one look at my shoes and said “Sandy, you need more boot and less heel.” Guess I will not be walking the steel anytime soon.  Field Trip Uber Ride: Elan Electric, (Jim & Jimmy Johnson), The Plumbing Store, (Bill, William and Kim Gagnon) Dorn Homes, (Rusty Weathersby, Chris Harrison), MI Windows, (Dan Bidwell), Premier Builders, (Ron Owsley),  Gale Insulation, (Shane Burginger), Sun States Builders, (Colin Lovdahl), Chino Heating & Cooling, (Mike & Brady Little). 

Tom:  Sandy, one of the greatest aspects of the boot camp was that all of the young adults were CPR and First Aid certified. Lesa and Dan of New Life CPR did for these young adults made a huge difference in many lives.

Sandy: Tom, all of our boot camp participants represent what is good, fine and admirable. Every person and company is a vital and effective force in our area. The team spirit, hard work and loyalty to the industry that built America and will continue to build American and the spirit was displayed by each and every one of these companies and their employees. 

Tom:  Sandy, it is remarkable what you put together. This was a total volunteer boot camp and I am indeed humbled and proud of everyone who worked so hard to make this boot camp for 27 young adults a success. It is great to know you, Sandy, be a part of YCCA and work with so many wonderful companies in the most fabulous industry and community ever! The community came together to support a cause that is not only worthwhile but filling a huge need in the construction industry. Presenters explained just about every facet of the construction industry we involve locally.

Sandy: The goal was to expose the participants to as much of what is out there so they might find their interest and pursue their possibilities. We want them to get really good jobs and help fill the labor gap that plagues all of our members.

Tom: Again, Sandy, that is absolutely outstanding. The presenters also got some good exposure to potential workers. That is a real plus. I met some eager people during my presentation. A great many were like sponges, soaking up info.   

Sandy: As of today, we have placed 15 young adults in the construction industry and made connections for others in fields of their passion and interest. I would call that successful. The other wonderful outcome was every attendee left boot camp with a professionally prepared résumé. That was a huge step that will help them land interviews.

Tom:  It is a great way for the companies to see the interest in people wanting to get to work. I know I am impressed with the enthusiasm I saw at the presentations. So, where does this go from here? Surely this may become an annual event? One of the participants said they wish they had this in high school. Do you have plans to work with the local school districts?

Sandy:  Tom, ideas are springing and bouncing. The phone calls are coming in about another boot camp so we are looking at June or July. 

Tom: Sign me up! I am on board!

Thanks for stopping in and reading “At Home with Tom and Sandy.” You’re in good company and we love sharing educational, fun and important information with you. QCBN

By Sandy Griffis and Tom Reilly

Tom Reilly, architect, contractor, Renovations 928-445-8506

Sandy Griffis, executive director, Yavapai County Contractors Association. 928-778-0040.

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