Community Builder Students with Instructor Adonis Elam of Elam Construction

CHICAGO, IL – Associated Builders & Contractors Illinois Chapter’s (ABCIL) Community Builders Program, in partnership with the City of Riverdale, graduated nine students November 2019 from its tuition-free construction education program on the far Southeast side of Chicago. Participants entered the 12-week program with no prior construction experience, and in many cases no other opportunity to enter the construction trades. Participants / Students graduated with three industry-recognized credentials along with job placement leads from many of ABC Illinois Chapters more than 300 member companies. 

Senator Napoleon Harris III and Representative Will Davis have supported the Community Builders Program since the program’s beginning and welcomed the graduates into their new careers as keynote speakers at the graduation.

“We’re excited to welcome the new class to Community Builders and launch their construction careers,” said Alicia Martin, ABCIL president. “What is unique about Community Builders is that it isn’t just another training program with no tangible outcomes. With job readiness training, a personal introduction to hiring employers, and an average starting wage of over $16 per hour, Community Builders is delivering results.”

ABCIL designed the Community Builders program after receiving the Talent Pipeline grant from the Illinois Department of Employment Security in 2017. This education program is designed to fill the growing shortage of skilled craft professionals, create a more diverse and inclusive construction industry in Illinois, and expand career opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment, including the re-entry population.

Improving opportunity and diversity must be a priority for Illinois. The ABCIL Community Builders does both – with great success. More than 100 students have been trained since the program launched in 2017 and Graduates enter the workforce at an average wage of $16.58 per hour with steady career and wage advancement. Community Builders has partnered with several organizations on the South and West side of Chicago and are actively establishing new partnerships and expanding throughout Illinois every day.

For more information on Community Builders, please contact Alicia Martin, President at or visit Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. – Illinois Chapter online at and