Goodwill is known for helping people find work. But we know success isn’t achieved alone, which is why we encourage partnership and collaboration to help our team and the people we serve in achieving their goals.
Atrium Health and DPR Construction have embraced ambitious community engagement goals on one of the most significant capital investment projects ever undertaken by the Charlotte, North Carolina based healthcare owner. DPR, along with partner Rodgers Builders, is constructing two largescale replacement facilities as part of this major update to the flagship Atrium Health campus in the heart of downtown Charlotte: the 150,000-sq.-ft. Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital and the one million-sq.-ft. Adult Acute Care New Bed Tower.
While the addition of new world-class replacement medical facilities will help Atrium Health to better meet the needs of the growing Charlotte community, the owner’s desire to impact and serve the local community goes even deeper. As part of the broadscale effort to engage the community and help develop a strong local construction workforce, Atrium Health and DPR committed to hiring at least 20% of the necessary project resources locally.
With a limited pool of local talent resources from which to hire, DPR had to think outside the box to find solutions for reaching this substantial community-based hiring goal. Shortly after kicking off the CMC Main Expansion project in early 2020, DPR launched a collaboration with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. The goal: grow the local construction workforce by expanding and supporting a training program focused on building up basic and advanced construction trades skills to meet two unique needs – filling a talent shortage in construction, while providing opportunities to people in the community.
The partnership between DPR and the nonprofit supports Goodwill’s Construction & Trade Skills Training program. Located in west Charlotte, The Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center provides courses in forklift, construction basics, commercial carpentry, HVAC, electrical and drone training. The center was established in 2019 to help members of the community access skilled trade careers, and to fill the ongoing demand in the construction industry. Through Goodwill, residents in the Charlotte region can access industry-recognized skills training programs that help them pursue the life they want to achieve. Thanks to shopping and donations at Charlotte-area Goodwill retail locations, these training courses are free of charge.
DPR’s team plays an important role in the program, helping participants learn about the possibilities within the industry, experience hands-on learning and helping to develop and deliver a well-received carpentry course led by DPR employees Chuck Haskett and Scottie Semder. Goodwill has hosted training classes in DPR’s local prefabrication warehouse and have brought training classes out to DPR’s Atrium Health project site for tours and interaction with active construction team members. Industry partnerships like these not only provide valuable learning opportunities for Goodwill participants, but also paths to promising careers. Multiple Goodwill graduates have been hired to work at DPR, supporting projects including the CMC Main Expansion project.
DPR mechanical, electrical and plumbing subcontractors Adams Electric and Harris Mountain West have helped drive the program, adding curriculum in electrical, plumbing and piping prefabrication. The courses bring Goodwill participants into DPR’s Charlotte prefabrication warehouse to work in a safe, controlled environment, where they receive hands-on learning on how to create prefabricated, multi-trade racks.
Altogether, the training program graduates roughly 10 to 12 individuals every eight to 10 weeks who come out prepared to join the local construction workforce. Adams Electric is just one of several local subcontractors that has hired graduates from the program.
DPR has also worked in partnership with Goodwill to promote hiring events and trade partner training events. Since the opening of the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center in January 2019, DPR has directly helped add a number of trained craftsmen to the Charlotte workforce.
Goodwill exists to help people see possibilities, seize opportunities and prosper. Through partnerships with employers and other organizations, Goodwill builds pathways for members of the community to uncover their passions, enhance their skill sets and achieve more for themselves and their families—creating a brighter future for all. In 2021, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont provided support to more than 6,100 people.