Reconstructing the future of the building trades for a next-generation workforce

How do you continue to meet the construction demands of the nation’s most populous state when younger generations aren’t considering construction as a viable career pathway?

When you’re tasked with ensuring California’s current and future construction needs are met, everything hinges on attracting future generations to the industry. 

The Challenge

However, demographic and societal changes in recent decades have produced young people often unfamiliar with general home repair, let alone operating any kind of heavy machinery. Add in long-standing stigma about construction careers, including that the work is unstable, difficult and dangerous, only for men, and with pay that can’t support a family, it’s no wonder fewer young people are considering construction as a viable career option. 

How do you change the narrative? What does it take to re-engage up-and-coming generations in an industry too often seen as a fallback for those who can’t get it or finish college and reinvent it as the smart, high-paying, opportunity-heavy career pathway of the future?

The Approach

Establish a roadmap.

  1. Actively engage young people (and their parents). Traditionally, the construction industry’s approach to recruitment has over-focused on those already in the workforce and is often failed to embrace the technologies, culture, and contexts used by young people today. By, first, creating a dedicated initiative focused on engaging younger generations, and, then, developing content and messaging designed to connect with them on their terms, ACG’s Build California can begin building relevancy, trust, and, ultimately, consideration with this audience.
  2. Flipping the narrative on white-collar vs. blue-collar jobs. Recent years have seen white-collar jobs lose a bit of their shine. With stagnating salaries, fewer benefits, and fewer advancement opportunities combined with longer hours and full days stuck behind a computer, there’s an opportunity to highlight the tangible, satisfying work produced by those in construction.
  3. Challenging the stigmas. Studies show numerous benefits overlooked due to the many misconceptions of the industry. With high earning potential in the skilled trades, numerous opportunities to build and advance your career, and high job satisfaction from those currently working in construction, not to mention fewer requirements for time-consuming and costly advanced degrees, the positives for choosing construction careers often far outweigh the negative.

Scale Build California statewide.

When 3fold began working with AGC, Build California had an existing brand in place. While visually stunning, the AGC team struggled to take advantage of developing opportunities and measure the initiative’s outcomes and efficacy. 

In order to execute and scale a campaign to support Build California’s mission, we conducted a full audit of the initiative’s marketing materials, developed an outreach strategy, managed all of the program’s communications channels, and identified key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success every step of the way.

Recruit employer partners.

In order to successfully scale statewide, AGC also need to recruit new employer partners into the initiative. 3fold helped them create a system to connect with employers, collect information on their experiences, needs, and opportunities, and created outreach and education materials to help them build a bridge between their future workforce needs and California’s 12- to 24-year-old population.

Create robust, organic engagement.

While the ‘Build California’ team had previously explored paid advertising through a small campaign push, 3fold identified an opportunity to boost their organic reach in order to better connect with audiences. We did this by helping AGC build engaged audience segments, then tailored content to each segment by platform. This ensured each key audience segment received the information they most cared about and was most likely to inspire action. 

We were also able to engage dozens of statewide affiliates by creating branded coalition toolkits, executing social media takeovers, and developing co-created content. Additionally, we created numerous solutions designed to create efficiencies and long-term cost savings, including automated email campaigns, branded presentation for board updates and partner onboarding, scripted talking points and pitches, and platforms for user-generated content.


Working closely with the AGC team, we were able to scale the initiative statewide while building internal team capacity. This has allowed AGC to maximize efficiencies and save money while engaging key audiences and taking advantage of new opportunities for connection as they arose.
Additionally, by providing a reliable method of capturing and reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) for the Build California initiative, the AGC team can now measure effectiveness of every social platform and online tool.
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3fold Communications is a community connection marketing agency specializing in recruitment and activation of diverse customers, regions, and influencers.

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