BYC “Spotlight Series,” August 2019: J.A. Croson

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BYC Aug '19 "Spotlight Series:" JA Croson

This month’s BYC “Spotlight Series” shines on JA Croson, Carolinas AGC members since April 2019.  JA Croson was founded by Jim Croson in Columbus, OH in 1959 and established a Florida division in 1979.  The company is a family-owned and operated plumbing and HVAC specialty contracting firm and provides public, private and federal  construction services across the Southeast.  JA Croson, LLC is celebrating their 60th year in business and has successfully grown from being a one-man company, with Jim Croson working out of his pick-up truck – to a company with over 400 employees across FL, NC and SC.

Since JA Croson was founded, the company has been deeply involved in countless community-based outreach initiatives geared toward promoting construction career awareness to students and adults of all ages. From being active in the Build Your Career workforce development initiative to being instrumental in developing and launching a new plumbing and HVAC apprenticeship program designed to train and recruit  new workers, JA Croson is a shining example of how our CAGC members are giving back to the industry that has given so much to them!

From their early beginnings, the company recognized the long-term value in educating future generations of workers entering the construction industry workforce.  They also realized the key to the success of JA Croson was a direct result of their commitment to properly recruiting and training more qualified workers.  Being deeply-rooted in this fundamental company philosophy, JA Croson has recently worked in tandem with the NC Community College System to develop and launch a registered Plumbing Apprenticeship program at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in a direct attempt to not only recruit and train more workers for the plumbing industry, but to also offer gainful employment to individuals upon successful completion of the program.

Although JA Croson is a very recent addition to the ever-growing CAGC family of members, they have already become huge advocates and supporters of our Build Your Career program by nominating several company representatives to serve as BYC Ambassadors.  Following the recent development of the plumbing apprenticeship with CPCC, the company has also even volunteered to lead one of our upcoming BYC Apprenticeship Workshops (February 2020) to offer their advice, support and testimonials of benefits to other attending CAGC employers, while also serving as a peer mentor to their fellow members as they create and launch their own OJT/apprenticeship programs in the future.

Steve Corriher, Interim Dean of the Harper Campus at CPCC and current CAGC Foundation Board Trustee, commented on the integral role that JA Croson played in the development of the new Plumbing Apprenticeship consortium by stating:  “JA Croson was instrumental in helping pull our new plumbing apprenticeship program at CPCC together and we're excited to work with them.  We need more industry employers to follow their lead and implement their own apprenticeship programs because it's a win across the board for students and employers.” 

When asked what benefits their company has seen thus far from developing partnerships with local community and technical colleges and organizations like CAGC and Build Your Career, Kathie Blackwell, Director of Field Recruitment & Development for JA Croson, said, "We have developed many great collaborative relationships with groups like CAGC, BYC, as well as high schools and technical/ community colleges, which now provide us with a direct source of candidates. We have successfully retained our new recruits by following up with them regularly out in the field to get their feedback on how things are going. When we hire a candidate, we want them to know that they aren’t viewed as “just an employee,” they are seen as a member of our Croson family."

Aside from their involvement with the CAGC Foundation’s Build Your Career program, JA Croson is also deeply ingrained in workforce development efforts in the Florida area where they are a consistent presence in local K-12 schools and serve as Coalition Partners for the iBuild Central Florida project—a program geared toward changing the stigma associated with pursuing careers in construction and providing construction career pathways.  As part of their company commitment to promoting workforce development for the plumbing and HVAC industries, JA Croson also adopted a local high school in Leesburg, Florida where they conducted multiple visits to a group of over 40 students and led lectures, demonstrations and project-based learning activities.

JA Croson is devoted to facilitating the ongoing education, training and employment placement opportunities for new skilled workers entering our industry as they continue “giving back” to the communities they’ve helped build for over 60 years.  To mention a few of their noteworthy workforce development projects, the company has participated in:

  • Build Tampa Bay Trade Show & Job Fairs

    Annual event is designed to educate students about the many career opportunities available in building & construction-related industries

  • Leesburg High School Construction Academy

    Monthly visits to engage with students & teachers to create career connections to the industry/visits include discussions, presentations & hands-on activities

  • Plumbing Certificate & Diploma Program Visits

    Visits to plumbing programs at tech schools in FL & NC/on-site interviews & hiring of program graduates

  • iBuild Central FL’s “iBuild Invitational”

    Construction job fair, skills competitions & signing day

  • NAWIC’s Block Kids Event & Construction Career Camp

    Annual event for high school girls to explore & develop basic skills in carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing & heavy equipment

  • Charlotte Career Discovery Day

    “Construction” zone where industry members educated high schoolers on careers in construction, as well as providing hands-on activities to get them excited about the industry

When asked why JA Croson is so heavily involved in leading workforce development efforts on behalf of their company, Kathie Blackwell very adamantly stated:  “JA Croson is invested in the future of not only the plumbing industry, but the construction industry as a whole. Our President, Paul Croson, created my position in hopes that having someone from the company going out into the schools and the community would bring more youth into the industry and to our company. In order to ensure that we have the skilled labor for the future, we have to educate students about the industry. The mindset that everyone has to go to college in order to be successful is such a misconception. There are so many different career pathways in this field and the opportunities are endless.”

Carolinas AGC, the CAGC Foundation and its Build Your Career workforce development initiative salute JA Croson for their dedication and commitment to helping us put an end to the labor shortage in the construction industry!  Through educational partnerships and outreach efforts designed to continue promoting construction careers to future generations of workers, our Carolinas AGC member firms truly continue to set the gold standard in our industry for what it takes to sustain it for many years to come.

 

For more information about J.A. Croson or career opportunities at their company, please visit their website at www.jacroson.com or contact Kathie Blackwell via email at kblackwell@jacroson.com. To learn more about Build Your Career or to volunteer to become a BYC Ambassador, please visit our website at www.buildyourcareer.us/ or contact BYC Director, Tammy Ford, at (704) 995-3901 or via email at tford@carolinasagc.org.

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