WASHINGTON, D.C. – On July 25, two Louisiana craft professionals who recently graduated from ABC Pelican’s Baton Rouge Training Center, Timothy Gros (35) and Sharon Ramsey (62), represented Louisiana’s construction industry at a White House event to celebrate America’s workers with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Ivanka Trump.
Tim Gros, an ISC Constructors employee who lives in Springfield, shared with President, Vice President, and Ivanka Trump his craft training story and the importance of earn-while-learn education programs. The new dad and Patterson native juggled four, 16-hour days each week for the past two years to complete his education with ABC Pelican, and he now has more electrical and instrumentation credentials and a 24 percent increase in salary.
“‘Honored’ doesn’t even begin to describe the experience of sharing my story with the country,” Gros said. “My hope is that my story reveals the importance of earn-while-learn education programs and inspires other hard-working Louisianans to pursue a career in construction. By investing in myself and working hard, I was able to advance my career without taking time off from earning a pay check.”
Gros chose ABC Pelican’s craft training program to “fill in the gaps” and to deepen his understanding of the trades. “The education through ABC Pelican furthered my knowledge and strengthened my skill set,” he said. “The programs shaped my future by teaching me the fundamentals of my trade.”
“But for a moment,” is the phrase that inspired Gros while he earned his credentials because he knew they would help him take that next step in his career. “There were moments when I thought about giving up with a demanding job and intense craft training, but I didn’t,” Gros said. “Work hard and finish strong.”
Sharon Ramsey graduated last fall in instrumentation at the age of 62. The New Orleans native traveled 120 miles each day, two days a week, after work, for three semesters to complete her education with ABC Pelican. Sharon currently tutors students going through similar craft training programs and considers herself part of the construction industry and a role model for women in the field.
“Representing women in the construction industry and my state at the White House is one of the highlights of my life,” Ramsey said. “I’m proud that women in craft professional roles are on the rise, but that number could be higher. I hope that my experiences in this upskilling program with ABC Pelican will encourage other women to consider a construction vocation.”
Prior to ABC Pelican, Sharon worked in careers such as nursing and accounting. After Hurricane Katrina, Sharon volunteered with People Building Communities to help rebuild her hometown. Through her volunteer efforts, Sharon joined ABC, and because one of her goals is to help other women “level up” through continued education, she jumped on the opportunity to learn a new skill set. While she is “not done yet,” Sharon considers herself part of the construction industry and a role model for women in the field.
“I tell the women in my circle of influence: don’t be intimidated,” Ramsey said. “If this was available when I was younger, I would have taken this route” because “this industry is so big right now.”
Last July, the Trump Administration introduced the Pledge to America’s Workers, which encourages companies and associations to invest in their workforce and provide career opportunities that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement. As part of Associated Builders and Contractors, ABC Pelican signed on to this pledge with the commitment to upskill hundreds of thousands of construction workers in the next five years.
“Tim and Sharon are just two examples of those in Louisiana and across America who can benefit from an earn-while-you learn educational program,” said David Helveston, chapter president and CEO for ABC Pelican. “Many rewarding jobs are available in the construction industry right now; 440,000 to be precise. Anyone is capable of taking advantage of this skills gap if they are willing to work hard and put the time in, just like Tim and Sharon.”
About the Pledge to America’s Workers: On July 19, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the National Council for the American Worker. As part of the National Council for the American Worker, the Trump Administration is asking companies and trade groups throughout the country to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers—committing to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement. Since President Trump signed the Executive Order, more than 200 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, contributing to over 9.9 million new education and training opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years.
About Associated Builders and Contractor’s (ABC) commitment to upskill 500,000 workers in the next five years: In July 2018, ABC signed on to President Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” at the White House, committing to educating and developing at least 500,000 construction workers over the next five years. The pledge, which was signed by more than a dozen leading companies and industry trade associations, stressed the need to expand apprenticeship programs to educate current and future generations of America’s workforce. In total, the signers pledged to train more than 3.8 million people for new positions.
About ABC Pelican: The Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC) was incorporated in 1980 and covers 52 parishes in Louisiana. It is a diverse, non-profit, trade association of contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and industry professionals who have joined together to advance the construction industry by supporting their mission, to promote and protect the Merit Shop Philosophy and the principles of the free enterprise system in the construction industry.