Through rotations and real-world construction exposure, Skanska’s CCTP program shapes young civil talent
Skanska’s Core Competency Training Program (CCTP) is a rotational professional development program for recent college graduates and a launchpad into the complex and exciting world of construction. Created in 2005, CCTP is a proven framework for developing young industry talent at a formative career stage. For our USA Civil employees, this program offers hands-on project experience and invaluable learning opportunities in the heavy civil construction business.
“As a new grad, I wasn’t sure which path to take with my career, and on top of that, I didn't realize that there were multiple avenues in this industry,” says Project Engineer Jessica Gonzalez. “CCTP not only allowed me to experience some of these paths but get a glimpse into other possible career directions within Skanska,” she says.
CCTP is a two-year full-time employment program in both the Northeast and the West. The program’s vision is the same on each coast, while specific rotation opportunities and their duration vary slightly.
Rotation rhythm encourages young professionals to discover and hone their talents
USA Civil Northeast’s CCTP includes six four-month consecutive rotations. Employee assignments include office/field engineering, assistant superintendent, estimating, project controls, safety and wildcard.
Wildcard offers a chance to customize the program based on participants’ interests and can involve returning to a previous rotation. Others use wildcard to take on a non-traditional opportunity in another area of the USA Civil business, or step into positions in corporate or operational support.
On the West Coast, participants take on three six to nine-month rotation assignments over two years in roles within operations, commercial and estimating/engineering work.
Overall, rotations provide a chance to learn about safe and productive field operations, subcontractor and vendor management, risk management, scheduling, bid strategy and more. Along the way, employees uncover what aspect of civil construction fuels them or what types of projects they’d like to work on in the future.
For new graduates jumping into the industry, identifying which path to pursue within civil construction can be daunting.
Former CCTP participant MaryRose (Fasulo) Accarino, field engineer II, felt this firsthand.
“It’s hard to come out of school with little to no experience and decide between field engineer, superintendent or project controls,” she says. “Getting to experience some of the major roles in our industry helps you decide on the career path you would like to follow. This program also provides you with a wide array of skills and knowledge that are advantageous in any position you work in.”
The diverse portfolio and proximity of USA Civil projects on both coasts gives rotators a chance to take on a wide range of responsibilities in a short amount of time.
“While all my rotations were memorable, my time working on two rotations—assistant superintendent and wildcard—at the PATH Exchange Place and Newport Elevator and Escalator Replacements Project in Jersey City really resonated with me,” says MaryRose. “In my first rotation, I was working on a team of five and in my second, I was working on a team of three.”
“Having just come from three of our large jobs—LaGuardia Airport (LGA) Terminal B Redevelopment, Hunts Point Interstate Access Improvement Project and 2 Penn Plaza—it was an adjustment working on smaller teams, but I learned the concept of ‘wearing many hats,’ which is an important skill in this industry,” she continues.
Similarly, on the West Coast, Project Engineer Dianna Barba felt the value in rotating between projects.
“I worked on four different projects—Regional Connector, Westside Purple Line, Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement and I-5/SR-16 Interchange—as well as at Skanska’s Riverside office. This gave me the ability to explore the intricacies of small versus large teams,” says Dianna. “The knowledge gained through becoming familiar with different positions was a unique opportunity you don’t find with other heavy civil general contractors.”
Assigned mentors, sponsors and advisors form fabric of support and guidance early on
Experienced USA Civil colleagues, many of whom got their start at Skanska through CCTP, serve as mentors, advisors and sponsors who are deeply engaged in the success of each CCTP class.
At the beginning of each class, mentors are assigned to each rotator and serve as a resource throughout the two-year program. Additionally, for each four to nine-month rotation, core area advisors oversee the development of the CCTP engineer and ensure they adequately meet intended assignment competencies. Sponsors from across the business unit also provide guidance to the current class.
The multifaceted support that program participants receive during their two years sets CCTP apart from other development programs.
“When you come in and you don't know anything, mentors are a sounding board—they’re people you can talk to and receive guidance from,” says Michael DiPiazza, senior project manager. “We often say it's a small world, but when you're brand new, you don't realize how small it is until you start progressing in your career.”
Jessica still sees the fruit of her CCTP experience. “I built a national network of support and knowledge throughout my rotations, which has evolved to friends and coworkers that I know are there to assist me not only with technical issues but also with career and development advice,” she says. “Achieving all this within my first two years at Skanska would not have been possible without CCTP.”
Seven years into her time at Skanska, Dianna feels the mentorship aspect of CCTP shaped who she is today.
“My assistant superintendent role on the I-5/SR-16 Interchange in Tacoma, Washington resonated with me because I was given the opportunity to travel out of state for work, and I met some of the most genuine and caring people within Skanska. My CCTP advisor, General Superintendent, formerly Construction Manager, Johnny Morgan, was my biggest supporter—from advocating for my living situation, to putting forth utmost effort to ensure that my future with Skanska after CCTP was what I wanted to do, and what was best for my career,” says Dianna.
“Johnny cheered me on when I flew down to Los Angeles to take my Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam,” she continues. “You rarely meet people that are as kindhearted as Johnny, and I don’t think I would’ve ever crossed paths with Johnny in a manager-employee capacity if it were not for the CCTP program.”
The Core Competency Training Program is one of several ways for an entry level civil employee to begin their career with Skanska. Other entry level positions that have lead to successful career paths within Skanska include starting in one of the following full-time positions:
- Estimating Engineer within our Estimating Department,
- Project Controls Coordinator assigned to a project,
- Environmental Health &Safety (EH&S) Coordinator assigned to a project,
- Quality Engineer assigned to a project, or
- Field Engineer assigned to a project.