Cadeau Freeman wasn’t looking for a career in the construction industry; she already held a mechanical engineering degree from Kennesaw State University and simply wanted a job that was more aligned with that background.
But when an auspicious sequence of events led her to Construction Ready’s fully funded training program, she emerged with an impressive resume that ultimately resulted in a contract position as an engineering technician at The Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters.
“I am definitely glad I went through Construction Ready, because it gave me the hands-on training, as well as the knowledge,” says Cadeau, who began her career in the food industry, where she focused on continuous improvement processes.
Cadeau’s journey into construction started when her mother passed along a flier about resume improvement at WorkSource Atlanta. When she went to check it out, she learned about an upcoming career fair, which she attended in September 2018. Construction Ready representatives were on hand and she was intrigued by what she discovered.
“When I saw the Construction Ready employees, they were energetic and always had a smile on their face,” she recalls. “I said, ‘OK, let’s check this out.’ I liked what they were introducing, so I applied.”
Cadeau graduated from Construction Ready training in December 2018 and was hired by Stewart Brothers, a Doraville-based paving company. She continued her construction training in 2019 by completing the 16-week Construction Ready PLUS curriculum.
Still seeking work more closely related to her engineering background, Cadeau jumped at the opportunity when The Home Depot called in fall of 2019, impressed with the combination of her degree and the credentials she had earned through the two stages of Construction Ready training.
Her work involves testing products in The Home Depot’s engineering laboratory and sharing her findings with engineers. She regularly calls on lessons learned from her Construction Ready training.
“I laid down some concrete, and I also had to drill some holes for the concrete” she says of one recent job assignment. “I had no idea how to do any of those things coming out of college; the only experience I had was from Construction Ready PLUS.
“From Construction Ready, the construction math is essential,” she continues. “I’m still using it on a day to day basis. And, from Construction Ready PLUS, being able to read blueprints. I had to go back into my book that was issued during Construction Ready PLUS and re-teach myself how to read electrical blueprints. So being able to use those skills and apply them to the real world is really cool.”
Besides that, Cadeau says, the job is just plain fun. Recently, for example, she was called on to test the strength of some Husky (a private brand of The Home Depot) totes and compare them to another brand of totes.
“Husky exceeded my expectations, with well over 1,500 pounds [of force] and it didn’t even crack. Next time I’m going to be taking a 100-pound bag and using a six-foot pendulum and seeing if I can break some concrete. It’s really fun.”