welcome to

community builders

Building Illinois and strengthening our communities through construction training opportunities

illinois iS facing a construction workforce shortage EPIDEMIC

The need for skilled labor in the construction industry is real – Illinois alone has a need for over 200,000* craft labor professionals. With an aging industry workforce and a lack of promotion in the education system, this need is going to continue to grow.



now what? 

It seems like common sense to pair the job searchers with the job openings. But that’s not all we were aiming to accomplish. By bringing free training to those who face barriers to employment, we’re expanding the talent pipeline and rehabilitating broken communities and families.



I found myself unemployed, then I received an email from ABC about their free 12-week program. The merit shop gave me a chance, and here I am excelling at work, making good money and finally thriving in life. I can’t miss!


Welder, Manhattan Mechanical Services

Filling the Shortage

In 2017, Associated Builders & Contractors received the Talent Pipeline Grant from the IDES to help fill the shortage of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen by offering apprenticeship training to under served communities & those with barriers to employment. Community Builders was then created to fulfill this training opportunity.

Strengthening Our Communities

We collaborate with the local workforce offices and community partners to assist with recruiting students and building trust between Community Builders and potential participants.

ABCIL has partnered with Woodlawn Community, Village of Waukegan, The YWCA, The Village of Hazel Crest, Revolution Workshop, Safer Foundation, the Fuller Center For Housing, and new partnerships are expanding everyday.

Creating Careers

Participants enter our program with no experience in the industry and leave with three industry-recognized credentials and job placement leads from one of our 300+ association member companies.

Credentials include Core Construction and Carpentry Level One completion certified through the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education & Research), and OSHA 10.

training & transforming


Communities served


current avg EMPLOYMENT RATE*


*Classes are still ongoing and some job placements have not yet occurred

the merit shop difference

ABC’s mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

The Community Builders Program serves as the vehicle by which ABC – Illinois Chapter will engage with those with barriers to employment and under-represented communities around the state of Illinois. This program helps develop a more inclusive and diverse talent pool to fill the workforce needs of the construction industry and ABC – Illinois Chapter members. 

From Our students

Don’t just take our word for it.

“The biggest difference since I start training is I feel like I’m growing. I can take care of my daughter by myself now without any support.”


Carpentry Apprentice, Construction Contracting Services, Inc.

“You’re constantly learning something new, that’s why I fell in love with it.”


Carpentry Apprentice, Construction Contracting Services, Inc.

“Don’t doubt yourself, because I doubted myself a lot thinking school’s not for me. But I’m doing pretty good here.”


Carpentry Student

“This isn’t just a job, it’s a lifelong career.”


Carpentry Student

Let’s Start Something new
Say Hello!