“Be Pro, Be Proud SC” Mobile Skilled Trades Workshop to Launch This Fall!

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“Be Pro, Be Proud SC” Mobile Skilled Trades Workshop to Launch This Fall!

Carolinas AGC  is proud to be the only commercial construction association involved in successfully pushing for state funding for a critical skilled trades initiative. It won’t be long before South Carolinians begin to see a tricked-out 18-wheeler that serves as a mobile skilled trades workshop, rolling down the Palmetto State streets and showcasing skilled trades at schools, football games, fairs, and many other types of events.

South Carolina is following in the footsteps of Arkansas, which rolled out a program in 2016 to showcase the skilled trades called "Be Pro Be Proud" (BPBP). Be Pro Be Proud SC is an initiative that is spearheading the movement in South Carolina to attract students to the limitless opportunities that await them in the skilled trades, construction, transportation, logistics, diesel technology and commercial truck driving industries.  The primary goal of this mobile workshop is to promote careers in these industries in a fun, interactive and educational way while also recruiting new workers to bring a new generation of pride, progress, and craft professionals to South Carolina’s skilled workforce.  The BPBP-SC mobile skilled trades rig is only the second of its kind in the country!

The Be Pro Be Proud SC initiative was brought to fruition through joint efforts of a collaborative partnership organized by several members of the Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation (AISCF).  The AISCF member group that banned together to initiate the Be Pro Be Proud project in SC consists of Carolinas AGC, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Trucking Association, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, and the Forestry Association of South Carolina.  This five-member alliance joined forces to advocate for state funding to promote their various industries and the jobs that are critical to their success. The group has secured a recurring funding stream which is part of the South Carolina State Senate’s budget proposal.

Leslie Clark, VP of Operations and SC Director of Government Relations & Divisions for Carolinas AGC, worked tirelessly for several years with the other primary players of the AISCF five-member group to secure the necessary funding to build, equip and sustain the Be Pro Be Proud SC truck.  When asked to weigh in on the significant role the mobile skilled trades workshop will play in bringing some much-needed positive attention to the skilled trade professions, Clark stated: “Skilled trades are the backbone of the state’s economy and the Be Pro Be Proud SC truck will be the perfect way to showcase those trades to middle school and high school students across South Carolina.”

Longstanding Carolinas AGC member Marty McKee, Vice President of King Asphalt and avid supporter of the BPBP-SC mobile skilled trades workshop, expressed his sentiments on how the truck will help shine the spotlight on careers in the skilled trade industry by stating:  “The Be Pro-Be Proud truck is going to provide a vision for those considering entering the construction field. By showing a vast array of opportunities for a lifelong and well-paying career, this initiative will have a huge impact on our students, our industry, and our state. I am very thankful for the efforts of the coalition and the SC Legislature to see this to fruition and look forward to seeing great results from this investment.”

Our country's current skilled workforce is at or near retirement age and the newer generations of up and coming talent are simply not enough to meet the demand. BPBP-SC hopes to change how South Carolinians think about job opportunities in these vital industries by promoting career awareness in an engaging, hands-on manner. Be Pro Be Proud provides opportunities for job seekers, skilled professionals, employers, and teachers to be involved and engaged through training, games, simulators, workshops and more (www.beprobeproud.org). This concentrated effort delivers real and situational workplace learning experiences to students, parents and teachers while also providing information about the lifelong career opportunities that exist across a variety of skilled trade professions.

The high-profile Be Pro Be Proud SC mobile skilled trades workshop is a custom-designed, 53-foot, double-expandable, 18-wheeler that will tour events and schools around the state. Inside the well-lit unit, visitors will experience hands-on simulators for construction operations, commercial driving, heavy equipment operation, carpentry, welding, electrical, CNC machine operation and more.

The Be Pro Be Proud SC initiative targets several key audiences including high school and non-traditional students, current skilled professionals, legislators, parents, teachers, career coaches and employers. This fully loaded mobile workshop is a dynamic and engaging tool that will provide information about training resources, current available positions within the skilled trade industries, accurate job descriptions, skills and competencies required, as well as how the BPBP-SC truck visitors can begin the process of starting a skilled professional career.

The Be Pro Be Proud SC initiative and its mobile workshop uniquely and creatively showcase the unlimited options of skilled trade careers, and Carolinas AGC is honored to be a part of the rollout.  CAGC's own Leslie Clark played a pivotal role in advocating for and securing ongoing high-level funding for ensuring the truck is road-ready by the fall of this year and Carolinas AGC commends her for those efforts.

Clark very eloquently sums up the importance of the BPBP-SC mobile workshop and the positive impact it will have on our industry by stating:  "The construction industry has reached a critical shortage of workers and we hope the Be Pro Be Proud SC truck, as well as the programs we are pushing through CAGC’s Build Your Career program, will help us begin to address that shortage.  We're excited to see the finished product and get the SC truck on the road.  We think having a slick, hands-on mobile workshop that showcases skilled trades is going to be a game changer for the construction industry."

For more information or questions about the "Be Pro Be Proud SC" initiative, to learn more about how you can be involved or to obtain information on sponsoring the mobile skilled trades workshop, please contact Leslie Clark, Carolinas AGC Vice President of Operations and SC Director of Government Relations Divisions, via email at lclark@carolinasagc.org.

Main photo: Mockup of the Be Pro Be Proud SC mobile skilled trades workshop. 

Article photos: Images captured from Be Pro Be Proud Arkansas promotional video.

*Content providing background information on the BPBP Arkansas initiative and truck specs captured from the Be Pro Be Proud.Org website.

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