With some help from the Jaguars, Jacksonville is about to create more jobs for those seeking work in the coming weeks and months. That’s thanks in part to the team’s latest projects — the Sports Performance Center and the Shipyards.
The construction of the performance center is already underway, while the Shipyards will begin soon.
But, the real job creation and activation initiative comes via the franchise’s partnership with a program called ‘Construction Ready’, a company that hosts four-week boot-camp-style classes that help the graduates of the program earn up to eight various certifications that will allow them to seek work on construction jobs.
The Jaguars will contribute $100,000 in order to kickstart the initial program, which in turn will help create jobs to work on the various projects, not only with the Jaguars but also with Downtown Jacksonville as a whole.
The money the Jaguars are contributing will cover the cost of the first class, which will cover the education for 20 participants, their equipment, materials, classroom space, and more. The program is entirely free to participants.
Below is a timeline for the first group of participants:
Registration Deadline – Monday, February 28, 2022
On-Boarding – Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Training Dates – Monday, March 14, 2022 – Friday, April 8, 2022
Hiring Fair – Thursday, April 7, 2022
Graduation – Friday, April 8, 2022
*Subsequent classes will be scheduled and available on the site.
Those interested in registering for an upcoming class can click here.
Other partners of the franchise are already lined up to cover subsequent classes (four a year), with the team working alongside community partners such as CareerSource, LIFT JAX, Operation New Hope in an effort to recruit participants and provide wrap-around services.
At the end of the boot camp, there will be a hiring fair that has a very high success rate in terms of placement. The program, Construction Ready, originally launched in Atlanta to help construct Mercedes Benz Stadium and has since expanded throughout the state and helped empower neighborhoods near the stadium.
The partnership the Jaguars have with Construction Ready goes beyond financial assistance, however. In fact, the Jaguars Community Impact team meets weekly to discuss everything from recruitment plans to training programs for future students.
That will continue, Jaguars senior vice president and chief community impact officer Whitney Meyer recently told BigCatCountry via email.
“We may be the lead financial partner, but it is important to highlight that we are not the only partner and other organizations and companies have already stepped up to join us,” she said. “This is a need for our city so there are many [of] us committed to this program’s success.”
The idea for the Jaguars to work with Construction Ready came from the Community Huddles the team hosted across all of Jacksonville neighborhoods in 2021.
When the team heard there was a need for jobs in the area, along with the fact that there was also a labor shortage via contractors the team saw an opportunity to meet two needs by launching the program.
“Which truly aligns with the platforms within our Inspire Change initiative,” Meyer said.
With the Construction Ready program, the Jaguars are prepared to hire graduates from the program immediately upon their graduation, “so there is an immediate connection to the students of this program and working on the Shipyards and Sports Performance Center.”
The program also aligns with something the Jaguars have already invested plenty in helping, the Eastside of Jacksonville.
In 2021, the team and owner Shad Khan donated $1 million to LIFT JAX and its work with the Historic Eastside CDC to help push forward an initiative in Jacksonville’s “Out East” neighborhood, a historic and culturally prominent African American community.
For many within the “Out East” neighborhood, getting jobs that are close — some in walking distance — of their homes is part of what makes this project so special, Meyer added.
“Several of the largest projects in Jacksonville are in and around downtown, within walking distance from this neighborhood which makes good-paying jobs easily accessible to this community.”
The Sports Performance Center, which the Jaguars have already begun constructing, will provide the Jaguars’ players with all of the tools necessary for them to succeed in the future.
The idea for the performance center launched last year when the team sought out and hired Urban Meyer.
Even with the Jaguars moving on from him, they are still dedicated to providing the best of the best for its players in order to get an upper hand on wins in the future.
In the end, it will be a 127,087-square-foot practice, training and executive team office facility near TIAA Bank Field.
Though not exactly what Jacksonville will have on the way, the Miami Dolphins are one of the latest franchises to construct a Sports Performance Center. Below is a video of the Dolphins’ vision, giving a glimpse into what soon could be the future in Jacksonville.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has spoken about the importance of the performance center in the past, and how cutting-edge it will be with what the team has in mind moving forward.
“It’s state of the art,” Khan said in December 2021 when asked about the center, and how attractive it will be for free agents. “We’re doing it now. It’s like when we did the locker room the first year or two I was here. It’s got to be cutting edge. We have to have the best.”
Other teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, are going to be utilizing similar concepts, making Jacksonville the new benchmark for such a site.
“What we’re doing now is really the benchmark. As a matter of fact, I think the Rams are going to be building a new one and they’re using us as the benchmark in LA,” said Khan. They shared that with me last week when we were there. So, I mean the whole idea is really to attract, but more importantly, develop the players you have.
Part of having the best, and getting it done as quickly as possible - and well -, will be the workers involved in the process, something that the Construction Ready program will certainly look to provide.
The Construction Ready partnership is just yet another fantastic initiative that the Jaguars franchise has worked to help propel within the community.
An NFL franchise can bring more than just excitement and fun due to the product on the gridiron. As the Jaguars have shown — it can be just as fun and exciting away from the field, too.