Hensel Phelps Creates Unique Opportunity for JumpStart Grads to Connect to Employers

Ally D'Ovidio

This past month, six graduates of Project JumpStart were given a unique opportunity, as part of the “Hensel Phelps Meet and Greet Day,” to go on a job-site tour, have a group lunch, and participate in a “speed dating” style interview process.

Hensel Phelps, who is the general contractor on the new Marriott Residence Inn Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, organized the day to help their subcontractors meet their local hiring goals.

The contractor, who is no stranger to Baltimore or to the medical campus, invited five of the project’s subcontractors, one being M.C. Dean, Inc., to help connect contractors with Baltimore residents. Hensel Phelps chose to work with Project JumpStart to fill the local Baltimore resident positions.

“When the opportunity arose for Hensel Phelps to facilitate hiring local Baltimore residents it was an easy decision to solicit Kate McShane with Project JumpStart to co-develop a special event to get JumpStart candidates in front of our subcontractor employers on the Marriott Residence Inn Baltimore project,” said James Harper with Hensel Phelps. “In fact it was a lot of fun!”

The top six most recent JumpStart graduates were invited to the meet and greet day. The day started with the graduates arriving at the job-site and taking a tour. During the tour, the graduates had casual conversation with the contractors in a relaxed setting and were even allowed to keep the hard hat, vest, and other materials from the site. Once the tour was over, a group lunch was had and then the interviews were underway.

Each of the contractors sat at a table while each graduate took a seat across from a different contractor. This was the beginning of the “speed dating.”

“We chose this style of interviewing because we wanted our graduates to be valued for their skill and job readiness and not because they’re from the necessary zip code,” said Kate McShane, the Placement Director.

The contractors gave a two minute explanation of their company, what they do, and their involvement on the project. The students then had the opportunity to sell themselves to the contractor. This process repeated as each graduate rotated to the different contractors’ tables.

“The most important thing we wanted these JumpStart graduates to get out of this day was connection to the contractors who can make a hiring decision.”

So far, this event has resulted in at least two of the six graduates receiving interviews with M.C. Dean, the electrical subcontractor on the site. Project JumpStart anticipates more interviews to come as the project begins.

“We’d love to try something like this again, our graduates benefited from it and the contractors enjoyed a more personal experience in the hiring process,” she explained.