Go Build engages millions of Tennesseans in just 4 months and continues educational campaign with statewide deployment of “Educator Toolkits,” new website sign-up tool, grassroots events, and aggressive outreach efforts.
The average age of a construction worker in Tennessee is over 50 years old, and for every five workers who leave the industry, only one replaces them. To combat the growing skills gap, this May Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined construction industry associations including ABC, AGC, TRBA and the NAHB to launch Go Build Tennessee. The initiative seeks to address ongoing skilled labor shortages through targeted education and image enhancement to inform and inspire the next generation of future skilled workers.
Industry associations have recognized October as “Careers in Construction Month” for several years. Now, four months since the launch of Go Build Tennessee, it serves as a time of reflection, celebration and continued determination.
Since May, Go Build’s public relations and outreach efforts have been deployed throughout the state on a variety of mediums to engage students, parents and “influencers” – in addition to the unemployed and underemployed – through a mix of TV, digital and radio advertising, printed materials, grassroots events, and social media. In just the first six weeks, 13 thousand Go Build television commercials ran on major networks such as ESPN, MTV, SPIKE and TNT, to reach 99% of our core audience of 16-24 year olds. Additional high-value advertisements aired during the NBA finals and the Battle At Bristol which resulted in a 267% increase in website traffic, and triple the number of return visitors. In addition, the website, which serves as the campaign’s core educational component, continues to evolve to host the most comprehensive construction-related training provider database in the state. That unique database currently includes more than 30 two-year institutions offering courses on construction, and over 70 apprenticeship programs, with updates added regularly. In addition, initial website metrics indicate that visitors are highly engaged in the construction career information provided by Go Build, spending an average of 2 minutes and 45 seconds each visit – when according to Time magazine, most website visitors spend “fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.” Even better, on Facebook, Go Build’s occupational videos and commercials have been viewed over 70,000 times in just 6 months, adding over 100 new “fans” each week.
Go Build Tennessee has not only exceeded industry standards for advertising and social media engagement, but is on pace to be the most aggressive and robust Go Build program to date, with many states throughout the U.S. seeking to launch their own Go Build efforts as a result of Tennessee’s successes.
Coinciding with the beginning of the 2016–2017 school year, Go Build Tennessee also launched several new initiatives. The dedicated “Educator” section on the Go Build Tennessee website previously allowed teachers to download several of Go Build’s documents, and now they are able to request the recently launched “Educator Toolkits” which includes a variety of Go Build materials such as career path handouts, a dozen different trade cards, multiple posters, stickers, flags, shirts and more. The “toolkits” are provided at no expense to the schools and can be used in classrooms, at career fairs, or by counselors to highlight the immediate, and long-term career opportunities in the trades. Go Build also seeks to complement those in-school conversations with the implementation of a statewide grassroots event effort. At industry events, skills competitions, or at the request of teachers and schools, Go Build has brought a “trade show booth” and accompanying collateral to all corners of the state including recent events at Chattanooga State, in Memphis at an AGC conference attended by Mayor Strickland, and on a job site with students from Cane Ridge High School. Go Build also just launched a completely overhauled communications tool through the website’s sign-up portal. This cutting edge component will allow registrants to receive geographic-specific information about events, training opportunities and more, all relative to their interests and location. And finally, Go Build has expanded into new platforms in Tennessee, running commercials on over 50 radio stations statewide and over a million ads on Spotify during the first month of school alone.
Go Build Tennessee continues to expand and evolve it’s efforts to meet the needs of students, educators, and industry. This October, Go Build Tennessee celebrates it’s first “Careers in Construction Month” and asks all Tennesseans to spread the word about careers in construction – the jobs are available, the benefits are many. Go Build is doing more than just publicizing a problem – we’re working to actively close the skills gap.