A former NBA Player, who owns a major construction company in Dallas, has launched a program designed to equip black and brown teenagers with the skills they need to become professionals in the construction industry.
Mike Williams, the owner of 3i Contracting LLC, said that his ‘Assist For Life’ program will prepare young people to become major players in the national construction industry where $ 1.8 trillion is spent annually.
The program is sponsored by the “Mike Williams Assist For Life” foundation, a non-profit created by Williams who played eleven years in the National Basketball Association, and who began his construction company two decades ago.
“I always wanted to give back to the community,” said Williams who grew up in Dallas. “Personal success was never enough for me. This program is my way of reaching back and providing opportunities to young people who many have forgotten or written off.”
Any high school in the state of Texas can participate in the program. With his base in Dallas, Williams has started his program with the Dallas Independent School District.
“We are offering high school students training that will allow them to enter the construction with construction skills and experience,” said Marriel Williams a graduate of Texas Tech University who runs the day to day operations of the program. She is one of Mike Williams daughters.
“Assist For Life” is an excellent opportunity for our students to join the by teaching them industry skills and meeting CEOs and construction managers, said Shenieta Gillyard, an administrator at Wilmer-Hutchins High School in DISD. The school has students in the program.
“ Assist for Life is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain industry experience by meeting CEOs, managers, employees and others in the construction industry. It is preparing our students to enter the construction industry,” she added.
“It is a four-year hands on project that is the only one of its type in Texas and in perhaps the nation,” said Marriell Williams.
Fifteen young men and women are selected in their first year of high school to participate in the program, Mike Williams said.
“During the first three years of the program students are trained in the fundamentals of the construction industry,” said Mike Williams, who majored in business administration at Baylor University.
“In their fourth year of the program they are placed with various construction companies as interns. The skills and knowledge they are exposed to during their first three years in the program will prove to be invaluable as they join construction companies,” Mike Williams said.
“During the program students are exposed to construction concepts such as dry wall, estimating, scheduling, cost coding, masonry, RFI and other topics that are crucial to construction,” he added.
“In our program students visit construction work sites and are exposed to professionals in the industry,” said Marriell Williams, who has a masters degree in business administration.
“We are opening the minds of young people to the construction industry,” she said of the 16 young women and 12 young men who are currently enrolled in the program.
“ I love the interest that the students show as they learn about and participate in the construction industry,” she added. “It is inspiring to watch them grow as intelligent, educationally-equipped, determined human beings.”
“Through ‘Assist For Life’ we are providing high-level training and opportunity to young people who are often neglected and left on the margins of our society,” said Mike Williams.
“We are attempting to reverse that while producing some of the extremely talented people who have ever entered the construction industry,” he said