For DOL YouthBuild programs, 2019 is quickly becoming known as “the year of Construction Plus” and with more YouthBuild sites running C+ programming, it is an important time to review the C+ program model and its accompanying framework.

The goal of C+ is to expand access to careers in in-demand fields outside of construction, including healthcare, information technology, hospitality and culinary, and manufacturing and logistics. C+ programs + use labor market data to identify locally in-demand industry sectors to determine career pathway opportunities for participants.  Based on the local data, grantees leverage industry partnerships to support in-demand training and credentialing, and real-world, hands-on work experience. These pathways are offered in addition to the required construction training and provide participants with additional exposure to emerging and in-demand job markets. A strong C+ program can aid recruitment efforts by attracting a wider pool of applicants (beyond those interested in construction training), promote the growth of partnerships across industries and sectors, and help connect participants to registered apprenticeship opportunities after graduating from YouthBuild.

The most successful C+ programs are those that are well aligned with the Construction Plus Framework’s components of pre-apprenticeship programming. The five key elements of a pre-apprenticeship program are the foundation of the Construction Plus Framework. These elements are identified in Section 681.480 of the WIOA Final Rule, available here.  They include:

  • Meaningful, hands-on training
  • Approved training and curricula
  • Career counseling and supportive services
  • Industry-recognized credentials
  • Apprenticeship and industry partnerships

Successful C+ programs will offer participants trainings and credentials that are locally and/or nationally recognized, stackable and portable, and connected to a real-world work environment. This ensures that participants can build upon their training to advance within a career pathway and gain access to highly-skilled jobs and education pathways. Successful programs will also cultivate robust partnerships with employers, post-secondary education institutions, industry associations, and apprenticeship programs. These diverse partnerships should contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of the C+ program, foster increased access to training and job placements, and support the long-term career planning of YouthBuild participants. This work should be complemented with well-rounded career and supportive services for participants and regular opportunities to connect work site and classroom learning. Make sure to engage your job developers and case managers in this work to help connect students to jobs and strengthen their long-term career planning. For more information on creating a successful C+ training at your program, read TEGL 7-14, Change 1: Updated Guidance for Implementing the “Construction Plus” Component of the YouthBuild Program, as Authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

An example of a strong Construction Plus program model comes from Mile High Youth Corps in Denver, CO. Mile High offers a healthcare track with a Nurse’s Aide certification and on-the-job training. Mile High has developed many best practices in their C+ track by aligning their program model to the Construction Plus framework.  They undertake a comprehensive pre-planning process, which utilizes the Construction Plus Action Plan and Partner Directory template.  They also have been diligent in their continued efforts to strengthen and expand their industry partnerships. The program has strong relationships with area hospitals, nursing homes, a local community college, and city government. This has resulted in quality hands-on work experience in a clinical setting and access to supplementary academic support for participants. The site engages partners in their programming planning and evaluation which helps to address gaps in services and improve the overall program model.  Mile High also makes it a priority to help participants contextualize their classroom and worksite learning through regular career planning, reflection, and case management. To read more about Mile High’s program model and approach to their C+ programming, check out the DOL YouthBuild Construction Plus Framework Spotlights.

A special feature of this year’s Construction Plus program is a new pilot with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). This pilot will be available to small number of qualifying DOL YouthBuild programs that are running an approved culinary C+ track. Programs that are selected to participate will be part of a yearlong learning community where they will test and provide feedback on NRAEF’s Restaurant Ready curricula, connect with State Restaurant Associations and employers, and gain access to professional credentials and job training competencies for their participants to connect to registered apprenticeships in the culinary field. Our goal through this partnership is to identify and document strategies to support pathways for YouthBuild participants to connect to registered apprenticeship sponsors in the related C+ fields. Programs that are eligible to participate will be invited to join an introductory webinar in late March.

To learn more about the YouthBuild Construction Plus Framework, the core components of the program model, and our work with NRAEF, check out this recording of our recently held pre-New Grantee Orientation (NGO) webinar: Construction Plus Framework.

Related Resources

Construction Plus Framework for a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Experience
This guide provides users with a deeper understanding of the Construction Plus program model including the C+ Framework and five key components of a pre-apprenticeship program. Inside you will find tools and resources to help you effectively implement your Construction Plus program (including a sample action plan and partner directory tool, and program spotlights, both described below).

Construction Plus Action Planning and Partner Directory Tool
The Construction Plus Action Planning and Partner Directory Tool can help grantees assess their current program design relative to the Construction Plus Framework elements.  This tool can help programs ready to expand into Construction Plus to prepare the steps necessary to establish a Construction Plus pathway or to assist grantees already doing Construction Plus to incorporate any elements not yet in their Construction Plus programming.

DOL YouthBuild Construction Plus Program Spotlights
These spotlights highlight promising best practices from across the Construction Plus pathways.  The programs featured here share resources, tips, and examples of successful strategies for building partnerships, creating real-world hands-on learning opportunities, and connecting students to meaningful trainings and credentials.

Construction Plus Safety Training Policy Paper
All DOL YouthBuild grantees must ensure that their work sites are safe and healthy, whether the work sites are in the construction field or a C+ industry. The best method to ensure the safety and welfare of DOL YouthBuild participants is through training. This policy paper will explore the General Industry OSHA training offering, as well as other supplemental, industry-specific safety trainings applicable to C+ grantees.

Template for Construction Plus
This template shows examples for how a C+ pathway timeline can be developed at a YouthBuild program.  It describes opportunities to align curriculum, certifications, and internships during active programming.