McCarthy Building bringing training facility here SanTan Sun News

McCarthy Building bringing training facility here

August 3rd, 2021 SanTan Sun News
McCarthy Building bringing training facility here
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By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

McCarthy Building Companies, one of the Valley’s most prominent construction firms, has broken ground on a new training facility that will educate the region’s aspiring carpenters and builders.

Located in a 40,000-square-foot building near Kyrene Road and Erie Street, McCarthy’s new workforce center will house the company’s education program that caters to more than 400 local craft workers.

Local dignitaries last month met with McCarthy’s leadership team to commemorate the groundbreaking by donning hard hats and breaking down a wall with sledgehammers — a skill that will likely be learned by the center’s future students.

The facility, which is projected to open early next year, includes multiple classrooms and workspaces for McCarthy’s staff to learn new trade skills in prefabrication, technical training and solar power production.

Known as “Builders U,” McCarthy’s training program will soon have access to newly renovated rooms and more space to partner with local institutions that provide career and technical education classes.    

Amber Shepard, McCarthy’s self-perform assistant manager, said the workforce center will be a great recruiting tool for attracting the next generation of builders.

“I’m really excited for this facility and bringing in the community,” she said. “Not only is it going to support the development of our current workforce but it’s going to support (the) future workforce.”

Shepard was born into the construction industry and credits her father with introducing her to the many career opportunities that exist in the local market.

Now she wants to offer the same guidance to high schoolers and college students who may be hesitant about seeking out jobs in construction.

“I think there’s a misconception that construction is hard,” Shepard added. “But it’s really for everyone.”

McCarthy is known for building schools, bridges, and hospitals across the country and has contributed to several projects around Chandler.

The firm recently built a new elementary school for the Chandler Unified School District and a five-story parking garage in the city’s downtown region.   

Shepard said the work done at the training center will provide support for McCarthy’s projects by supplementing materials that can be incorporated into the construction of buildings.

“We use it as a training opportunity as well as a direct support to our job sites across the country,” she added.

Plans for creating a new workforce center in Chandler began not long before the construction industry was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

As McCarthy was closing on the center’s property, the rest of society was shutting down and the future of economic development became clouded in uncertainty.

Justin Kelton, president of McCarthy’s Southwest region, said McCarthy continued to push the project forward during the pandemic because the company knew it needed to invest in the region’s workforce.

“There was no way we weren’t going to do this,” Kelton said.

A workforce center can help McCarthy put out a better product, he added, and result in better price certainty for the projects they build.

“This is a culmination of what we’ve been doing for years,” the president said.

McCarthy expects the workforce center to assist Arizona in filling the many construction jobs that will be generated in the next few years.

According to the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, Arizona will need 228,000 craft professionals by the end of 2024 to support all the development that’s projected across the state.

More than 80 percent of employers currently struggle to fill hourly craft jobs or salaried positions in construction, per the Associated General Contractors.

Justin Dent, the company’s senior vice president of operations, said the industry needs to engage with young workers and McCarthy’s new workforce center will offer more opportunities of engagement with prospective builders.

“We have to invite and get people to join our company and join the trade,” Dent said.

McCarthy believes its new facility will help its workers to learn about the many pathways that exist for them to advance their careers.

The city’s elected officials approve of McCarthy’s plans to boost the local workforce and are excited to see how the training center assists locals in moving up the career ladder.

Councilman Terry Roe said he’s proud that Chandler gets to house a safe place for McCarthy’s construction workers to learn their trade in a controlled environment.

“I’ve been a fan of McCarthy for a long time,” Roe said. “Chandler is the city of innovation and I see that in McCarthy.”

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