Associated Builders and Contractors gives students hope for a better future

Associated Builders and Contractors gives students hope for a better future


CONTACT Cara Wilwerding, Communications Manager

OFFICE 402-479-5712 |

Note: This is the last of a series about Vocational and Life Skills programs funded by LB907.

Jan. 19, 2018 (Lincoln, Neb.) – Without the proper training, stepping back into the workforce after incarceration is a daunting expectation. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is helping reduce recidivism by providing pre-employment training in a number of areas such as carpentry, drywall, roofing, finish carpentry and more.

“I feel like our greatest success has been giving people hope for a better future,” ABC President Anne Klute said. “We are starting our students in training for a career in an amazing industry and they see hope for a future with a productive career.”

ABC is a national trade association representing 21,000 members from construction and industry-related firms. Their Cornhusker Chapter, founded in 1973, offers training opportunities at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI), Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW), Work Ethic Camp (WEC), Community Corrections Center-Lincoln (CCC-L) and Community Corrections Center-Omaha (CCC-O). Additionally, a number of students who have been paroled or released now take apprenticeship classes in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing and electrical at ABC training facilities in Lincoln and Omaha.

“There’s such a high demand for construction jobs, and ABC is helping to fulfill that demand,” NDCS Reentry Administrator Grace Sankey-Berman said. “Businesses across the nation are hungry for employees.”

In addition to construction training programs, ABC’s core classes are helping turn students into employees. Core Curriculum is the foundation course for all National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER) apprenticeship training programs. A building project follows every core class, allowing students to apply lessons they learned with hands-on experience.

ABC curriculum is recognized in all 50 states. They also offer 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification classes that many construction employers require prior to employment.

“Going in with your OSHA certification is a great asset,” NDCS Reentry Program Manager Steve Fannon said. “It’s expensive for employers to pay for so it makes applicants that much more attractive to employers.”

ABC offers a mobile welding training program in NDCS facilities. The program includes five simulators and two heat welders that they can take anywhere. One student at NCCW said ABC is opening doors and providing options for a future she never thought she could have.

“It’s not just about finding a job because there are plenty of jobs to be had,” Fannon said. “The vocational training allows individuals a level of confidence that can minimize the insecurities of a criminal history. It’s about finding a career path that is meaningful.”