“The Sargent Academy” – A Contractor’s New Way to Attract Employees

Updated May 9, 2022

As the labor shortage worsens for the construction industry, forward-thinking contractors have begun to take matters into their own hands to find their next generation of leaders.

On this episode of The Dirt, we talk with one of those contractors, Herb Sargent, president and CEO of Sargent Corporation, based in Stillwater, Maine.

In 2015, Sargent had an idea for the Sargent Academy to find recent high school graduates to train with the hopes that they would one day become operators, foremen, superintendents and build a career with the 350-plus-employee-owned company.

The first class was hired in 2016. The company uses a dorm at a nearby university, provides breakfast and lunch, and for six weeks immerses them in the basics of the construction business as well as skills that will help them throughout their lives, such as personal finance.

With a mix of classroom and on-the-job instruction, the new employees come out knowing what to do on the jobsite. They also have a clearer idea of the type of construction career that awaits them at the company.

So check out this week’s episode of The Dirt where Sargent discusses how the program works, how it benefits the company and what the industry as a whole needs to be doing to attract and retain young workers.

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