CEFGA has honored 110 construction and metals teachers throughout Georgia with the Construction Workforce Impact Awards. Delivered in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, the new Impact Awards program is designed to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to thrive in construction education and careers. The program honors the front-line contributions of teachers who are instrumental in preparing students for careers in the skilled trades.

CEFGA staff recently made surprise visits to five of the top-15 award winners, presenting each with a check for their work in prioritizing and implementing workforce best-practices. Award winners were ranked with a quantitative score based on metrics in four key areas: Industry Certification of their Program, Industry Credentialing, Industry Exposure, and Industry Career Path Placements including Work-Based Learning and part-time employment in the construction industry.

Top Impact Award winner Charles Kachmar (second from left) speaks with CEFGA’s Zach Fields and John Wilhoite at Lawrenceville’s Maxwell High School of Technology. Scroll to bottom of page for more photos.

Charles Kachmar of Lawrenceville’s Maxwell High School received the top prize of $10,000. Kachmar and four other winners – Jake Slusher of Madison County High (5th place), Patrick Mahaffey of Berkmar High (6th), Ben Lowe of Jackson High (7th) and Jim Steel of Harris County High (13th) – are the subject of the above video presentation featuring their check presentations.

“Scott [Shelar, CEFGA Executive Director] showed up with a big check!” exclaimed Slusher. “I couldn’t believe it! I appreciate it so much, and it definitely makes our summer more enjoyable.”

“I received the CEFGA check – wow!” added Lee County High’s John Wanner, whose program was ranked second among the 100 participating programs. “First time ever rewarded for all the work. Thank you!”

The Impact Award is part of CEFGA’s new “Introducing the Next Generation to the Skilled Trades” initiative supported by The Marcus Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and The Home Depot Foundation. It is designed to recognize and reward key workforce best-practices in vital skilled trade CTAE programs by:

  • Ensuring alignment of instruction with industry needs, mobilization and engagement of industry partners;
  • Delivering industry-recognized credentials to students;
  • Assisting students in taking the next step directly to employment or advanced training programs after high school.

Notable metrics achieved with the support and collaboration of construction programs across the state are:

  • 42 construction programs in Georgia are currently certified, with 15 more in-progress to obtain industry certification;
  • 3,795 verified industry credentials have been earned by students;
  • 12,436 student exposures to the skilled trades have been recorded;
  • 578 students have been verified as interested in pursuing a construction career path.

Following are the top 25 award winners and the counties in which they teach.

  1. Charles Kachmar, Gwinnett
  2. John Wanner, Lee
  3. Brent Branning, Cobb
  4. Luke Fletcher, Houston
  5. Jake Slusher, Madison
  6. Patrick Mahaffey, Gwinnett
  7. Ben Lowe, Butts
  8. Christopher McGrotha, Muscogee
  9. Brandon Miller, Hall
  10. Jeff Johnson, Laurens
  11. Josh Hall, Bulloch
  12. Jeff Bearinger, Lumpkin
  13. Jim Steel, Harris
  14. Dale Hales, Fulton
  15. Carlos Jones, Jr., Camden
  16. Mark Adams, White
  17. Nick Dipaolo, Jones
  18. Robert McCullough, Columbiua
  19. Travis Barrett, Thomas
  20. Rodney Presley, Hall
  21. John McFarland, Colquitt,
  22. Wade Owens, Murray
  23. Jeff Holland, Glynn
  24. Walter Preston, Spalding
  25. Dennis Wilson, Gilmer

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