News & Updates

News & Updates

ValleyBuild Helps Train Construction Workforce for Fresno’s Future

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer talks about the city’s planned capital projects and the Project Labor Agreement that assures jobs will be available to local, skilled workers.

The City of Fresno’s ambitious capital improvement program will translate into an ongoing demand for skilled workers in the trades and a continuing need for successful training programs like ValleyBuild.

“We have never had this much work in Fresno in terms of capital projects,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, a featured speaker at the Nov. 17 ValleyBuild graduation. “Over the next three and a half years, we anticipate $1.6 billion dollars in capital projects, and anything over a million dollars is pursuant to our Project Labor Agreement (PLA).”

The PLA is an agreement between the City and the trades that sets standards for wages, hiring, qualifications and working conditions, for example, on large construction projects.

“We are proud to partner with the City and to be part of the ValleyBuild program that is building a pool of skilled workers for these important capital projects,” said Chuck Riojas, financial secretary/treasurer of the Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.  “The citywide PLA is an essential piece because it helps ensure there are local jobs available for our graduates.”

The PLA helps demonstrate the importance ValleyBuild, the apprenticeship readiness model pioneered in Fresno through a partnership of the area trades council, the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board and The Rios Company.

Programs like ValleyBuild are a critical contributor to the city’s capital program, Dyer said in an interview: “It’s imperative to have a workforce, and that workforce is dependent on pre-apprenticeship programs, apprenticeship programs – getting people qualified and competent to do the work that we need to carry out.”

That capital improvement program, coupled with hiring thresholds in the PLA, is a form of attack on generational poverty. “We have a lot of people in Fresno that are under skilled, who are not in the workforce, or they’re in the workforce but they’re underemployed – perhaps they could be in another job that has a higher skill set and more economic mobility,” Dyer said.

ValleyBuild provides the opportunity to learn new skills that offer the promise of strong careers, wages and benefits along with a ticket to the middle class.

“This work is part of my vision for Fresno’s future – as ONE FRESNO, we seek an inclusive, prosperous, beautiful city where people take pride in their neighborhoods and community,” Dyer said.

“We share in the goal of helping our local residents build skills that lead to good jobs and stable careers,” Riojas said. “The ValleyBuild program is doing just that.”