‘No Downside’ to Construction Ready Training

20 Days of Fully Funded Instruction Led Jaylon Cooper to a Job He Loves

To anyone on the fence regarding whether to pursue Construction Ready’s Pre-Apprenticeship training program, Jaylon Cooper’s rationale is pretty hard to refute.

“There is no downside to attending the program, because it’s only 20 days,” says Jalon, a 2023 graduate of the program at Clayton County’s Perry Career Academy. “It’s not going to take too much of your time. It doesn’t cost you any money. And no matter what happens, you’ll always have those credentials.”

The credentials he refers to – up to eight in all – ensure a graduate enters the construction workforce with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to begin a rewarding career. For Jaylon, that’s a position as a Level I Structured Cabling Technician with NetPlanner Systems, a telecommunications company that specializes in communications, security and audio-visual installations.

Jaylon graduated from Mundy’s Mill High School, but not before pandemic-related issues almost derailed him. He explains: “After COVID-19 hit the U.S., it impacted my performance in school. Some of my family members had gotten the virus and my motivation was pretty low.”

After the school returned to in-person learning, Jaylon committed to getting his GPA back up to qualify for graduation. However, he became “so laser-focused on school,” it took him some time to realize that “when I graduated, I wasn’t going to have a job.”

Enter Construction Ready’s Veda White and Luke Fletcher, who showed up at his school on a recruiting visit.

“When I heard that the program was only 20 days, but I’d be getting like a year’s worth of training, I decided, ‘That’s a catch. I can’t let that opportunity slip by,’” Jaylon remembers. “Since I didn’t have a job in mind anyway, I decided I may as well just go for it and get those credentials. Even if I didn’t decide to do construction, I’d still have the credentials in case I changed my mind later.”

Jaylon had done some summer work with his grandfather, who owns an audio-video company called Metro Sounds. With that background, he found NetPlanner Systems appealing when he met representatives from the company at the hiring fair on Day 19 of the program.

“I enjoyed that we got to ask the employers questions. It made it easier for me, because I had never been in an interview before,” he says. At the graduation ceremony the next day, “When I saw the words NetPlanner on the envelope, I was ecstatic.”

That was at the end of June 2023, but Jaylon didn’t have a driver’s license yet. Once he cleared that hurdle, he was able to start work in September. He soon was assigned to a large-scale project, the new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital in the city’s North Druid Hills community.

Looking ahead, Jaylon hopes to advance to a Level II Cabling Technician position, in which he would learn to install fiber optic cables and electrical panels. Ultimately he plans to attend Kennesaw State University and one day start his own business.

On the job, he says he learns something new every day, and the safety training he brought with him from Construction Ready is something he’s found particularly helpful.

“If you don’t have safety down, you don’t need to be working in construction,” he says. “You need to know what you can and cannot do for the safety of yourself and those around you.

“I have to thank my instructor, Johnny Hughes, because he was very entertaining in the way he taught us,” he adds. “We’d be laughing and having fun, and then before we even knew it, the day was over.

“The program has impacted my life in an immensely positive way,” he concludes. “If I hadn’t signed up for the program, I’d probably still be looking for a job, and if I did find one, I probably wouldn’t be as happy as I am with NetPlanner.”

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