Like women, African American men have traditionally been underrepresented in the construction industry.
According to a recent article in Engineering News-Record (June 17, 2020), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that Blacks comprise 12 percent of the workforce, yet they represent just 6 percent of the construction industry.
African American industry leaders maintain that a lack of training opportunities and systemic racism has kept the number of Black workers in construction stagnant at 6 percent since 1995 and that number has not fluctuated much in 2020.
Now, there is a major push to try and rectify the problem. The National Black Contractors Association (NBCA) and the San Diego chapter of The Associated General Contractors (AGC) are taking an ambitious step and collaborating with apprenticeship and hiring programs along with work-based placement agencies from diverse communities so that more opportunities are available for Black apprentices.
In a recent interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Abdur-Rahim Hameed, President of the San Diego Chapter of the National Black Contractors Association said the goal of the joint venture is to open doors for underrepresented contractors, who have been locked out or limited in getting ahead in the construction industry.
This is especially good news for those seeking careers as licensed contractors but were maybe unsure how to get started in the profession. As suburban and urban sprawl takes shape throughout the country, the need for housing increases, and as areas look to rebuild after disastrous wildfires, the demand for licensed contractors and construction workers is growing.
David Fogt, California’s Registrar of Contractors says his agency, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), has also stepped up its outreach and licensing efforts among African Americans. That includes plans for licensing workshops.
“We have a shortage of qualified people coming into California’s construction industry, both as contractors and workers, said Fogt. “We want to do everything we can to let underserved communities know that construction is a great career choice. It’s also a great way to build up and give back to your community.”
In addition, the CSLB website has a wealth of information for consumers, licensees and those looking for a career as a licensed contractor. While there, you can also view the CSLB publications and forms including the annual California Contractor License Law & Reference Book. CSLB also conducts regular online interactive workshops for those interested in getting a license. You can also watch videos of previous workshops on CSLB’s YouTubeChannel.
To help you get started with your career as a California licensed contractor, CSLB urges you to pay close attention to the following license requirements when beginning the application process.
CSLB’S REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS LICENSE:
- GETTING STARTED: A licensed contractor must be 18 years of age or older, have either a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, and have the experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by someone (a “qualifying individual”) with the necessary experience and skills.
- EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS: There are no educational requirements to qualify for a contractor license. You may receive credit for technical training, apprenticeship training, military training, or education instead of a portion of the required four years of practical experience. At least one year must be practical experience. You do not need to attend a license or exam preparation school to get your license.
- EXPERIENCE: At least four years of journey-level experience is required to qualify for the exams. Credit may be given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, or contractor in the classification for which you are applying. There is a non-refundable $330 fee for an original application and a $200 initial license fee for one classification. The application fee for each additional classification is $150. The license must be renewed every two years; the renewal fee is $450.
- TESTING, TESTING: An examination is required. The qualifying individual (either you or your representative) must pass both the written law and trade exams unless they meet the requirements for a waiver. CSLB schedules exams after the application is submitted, reviewed, and accepted as complete.