Boldt Mentorship Programs Build Future Workforce

Non-traditional workers attracted to the industry

(Appleton, Wis.) Mar. 5, 2024 – In a matter of weeks, Regina Funmaker will complete her training for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and have even more options for a career in the construction industry. Funmaker has been working as a general construction laborer for The Boldt Company since fall of 2023 and in that time, she has been in a mentorship program learning all aspects of the industry.

“I’m building my skill set and Boldt is 100% behind me!” Funmaker said. Funmaker learned of the opportunities at Boldt through programs offered by the Forward Service Corporation, a non-profit employment and training organization. The program helps adults, minorities, and females explore careers through educational, training, and supportive services. She was enrolled in the Highway Construction Skills Training program where she received certifications in first aid/CPR, OSHA-10 safety, and flagging. That’s when her instructor put her in touch with the Boldt Company, one of the program’s partners, for additional training.

Funmaker is a member of the Ho Chunk Nation and graduated from Riverside Indian School, the oldest and largest off-reservation boarding school in the United States. She worked in a variety of office jobs and in temp jobs but wanted a more challenging career.  

“I realized office jobs were work for when I retire,” she said. “My dad was a heavy equipment operator, and it was always something I wanted to do.”

While working at Boldt, she was mentored on the job at the Fox Commons jobsite in downtown Appleton. This large jobsite has been a training classroom of sorts for adults and youth apprentices seeking experience and career exposure to skilled trades and construction. For Funmaker, she learned how to operate machines used on a construction site, learned how to operate power tools, learned safety requirements, and how to work in a collaborative setting.

She has been one of the few women and the only indigenous person on the job site and felt welcomed by her co-workers the minute she joined the project team.

“It was so different from the stereotype of construction work,” she said. “It was intimidating at first walking in there as the only woman and only Native, but it was 180-degrees from the common stereotype.”

For the Boldt Company, mentorship and workforce development programs are critical components to growing a workforce for the future. The company currently has workforce development programs in process at offices nationwide. On a national basis, Boldt works with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) on a variety of apprenticeship readiness programs.

“We are committed to creating long term careers in construction and investing in the training and education that will advance all our team members.” said Rob Branyan, vice president of labor relations at Boldt.

For this working mom, Funmaker realizes she’s a role model for her teen-age daughter. “My daughter thinks it’s awesome that I do something I enjoy and I work hard. She tells her friends and everyone about my career choice; that I can hang with the builders and the work I do is cool. She’s definitely proud and looks up to me.” Funmaker said.

About The Boldt Company
The Boldt Company (Boldt) is a leading professional construction services firm with customers across the United States and is a subsidiary of The Boldt Group. Founded in 1889, Boldt is a fourth-generation family and employee-owned firm headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin. Focused on innovation, continuous improvement, and Lean principles, Boldt is recognized as a pioneer in Lean construction and in the industrialized construction space. Boldt operates 18 offices across the U.S. that serve customers in healthcare, power, industrial, education, automotive and commercial markets.