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Constructing the future with Marin Builders Association and College of Marin

June 24, 2022

Spring 2022 Workforce program graduates

Over the last four years, Canal Alliance has partnered with College of Marin and the Marin Builders Association through an innovative public-private partnership to help almost 200 low-income Latino residents gain construction skills that lead to higher paying jobs. On average, graduates have a 43% increase in income and a high one-year job retention rate of 82%. Our workforce development team helps graduates connect to potential employers through a powerful partnership with the Marin Builders Association, and provides job search and retention support. 

Students from the latest graduating class, June 2022, are now ready for hire. Caran Cuneo from the Marin Builders Association manages the construction job fair and helps the graduates looking for positions.

There are over 500+ members of the MBA and each one of them receives a notice from CEO Rick Wells that a new set of resumes from the construction class graduates are ready.  While not all MBA members are always hiring, they do appreciate the connection to dependable and willing-to-learn construction workers.

“I send all the graduating students resumes to members of the MBA who indicate their hiring need and interest in our graduates,” Caran explains. “Typically, there are 45-65 responses within the first two days of the notice. I also tell the students to call an employer back because it shows that they are serious candidates.”

Pre-pandemic, the fair was held in person and the graduates would go from table to table, like a speed dating model, so job seekers and employers could meet. The job fair is now virtual and people meet in breakout rooms on Zoom. 

Caran enjoys providing the participants with tips, resources, and useful job-seeking advice.  “If a recent student is looking for a foreman job and wants to be paid $50 an hour, I tell them to make sure they put that down in their resume and cover letter. Most of the graduates are in the $25 to $35 range and they’re able to seek specific jobs they’d like, whether it’s carpentry or electrical. We set them up for success.”

Since its launch the program has evolved to increase accessibility for students. The class began as a credit course, which limited access to undocumented students.

“Over the years I’ve worked with Axel, Regina and Francesca to make the program accessible to as many people as possible,” notes Caran. “The program continues to grow and collaboration between College of Marin, Marin Builders Association and Canal Alliance has had strong results, providing skills that lead to well-paying jobs and the support to connect with employers.”

“It is of huge value to have this partnership with Marin Builders Association,” said Regina Vindel, Workforce Career Supervisor at Canal Alliance. “Caran is a vital part of the success of our program. She teaches the students how to interview and gain confidence, and has been a great mentor for me.”

Regina Vindel, Canal Alliance Workforce Supervisor, and Caran Cuneo, Marin Builders Association, at the construction class graduation June 2022.

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