Construction career Jumpstart

Real-world experience.
Real-world employment.


We believe in building people through the merit shop philosophy: that projects and personal advancement should be awarded based on performance, skill, and achievement. As a respected nation association, we’ve been setting the standard for safety, quality, and integrity in the construction industry since 1950. And we’re not about to stop now.

The JumpStart training program was developed by the CWDA in 2014 to provide a pathway for young adults ages 18-25 to receive entry-level construction training and secure employment in the construction industry.

To remove barriers to enrolling in the program, the CWDA provides full-tuition scholarships to all students enrolled in the program each year. Scholarships are funded through the event proceeds of the CWDA Rally and other generous donations to the CWDA. 

Based on the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Construction Core curriculum, Jump Start teaches the basic skills to be successful in the construction industry.

These skills include:

  • Basic construction math

  • Introduction to blueprint reading

  • How to use hand and power tools

  • How to work safely, and

  • Teamwork and communication skills

Additionally, students graduate with:

  • OSHA 10-hour card

  • Rough terrain forklift license

  • Aerial lift license, and

  • First aid/CPR card

Based on this research, the CWDA invites employers in these trades to provide job shadow experiences and interview students at the conclusion of the program. In 2017, 88% of students attending Jump Start were immediately employed in the construction industry. 

The Jump Start training programs runs full time throughout the month of June. Students attend class at Grand Rapids Community College MTEC from:

7:30 am. – 3:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and

7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Fridays. During the first week of class, the CWDA works with students as they research careers in the industry. Students identify a career pathway that they think will be a good fit for them (electrician, carpenter, mason, project manager, etc).


The Jump Start training program is a great option for students interested in going right to work after high school,  or students who are interested in working while attending college in the evenings.