Training Top 125 Best Practice: Gilbane Building Company’s Management Candidate Acceleration Program (MCAP)

MCAP develops Gilbane’s future generation of leaders through a 24-month program that provides technical and leadership/professional development training enhanced by experiential learning opportunities.

Gilbane Building Company’s Management Candidate Acceleration Program, known as MCAP, is an accelerated development program for employees at the beginning of their careers who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential. MCAP develops Gilbane’s future generation of leaders through a 24-month program that provides technical and leadership/professional development training enhanced by experiential learning opportunities. 

Program Details

The program framework and highlights include:

  • Hands-on experiential learning:Candidates rotate through key technical functions in the field and support operations such as project engineering, estimating, purchasing, and business development. Upon completion, department and project managers provide feedback on employees’ performance.
  • Champion support:Each business unit has an MCAP Champion who serves as a mentor and coach for the candidates in the program. Champions meet bi-monthly with candidates to discuss progress and issues that arise, and provide support and guidance as candidates navigate the program.
  • Leadership development:Candidates are assigned a core leadership development training curriculum where they participate in quarterly virtual sessions and online self-paced training on topics such as networking, communicating for success, their leadership journey, and the value of mobility. Candidates work with their managers and MCAP Champions to develop individual development plans, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop performance goals appropriately.
  • Capstone graduation event:At the end of the 24-month program, graduating candidates come to Gilbane’s corporate headquarters to participate in a Capstone event. This two-day event provides an opportunity for candidates to celebrate their achievements in the program, and challenges them with a real-world business problem. Teams of four to five candidates are put into the role of the executive leadership team and must work together to think both strategically and tactically to develop a solution to the problem. Teams have the opportunity to research and engage in dialogue with a range of internal subject matter experts to help them. Throughout the event, MCAP Champions act as subject matter experts and mentors to the teams. Initially, candidates are not told they have to present their findings to a panel of senior leaders. This information is introduced partway into the challenge to test their skills and capabilities to resolve business disruptors. On the second day, candidates present their strategies and solutions to a senior leader panel that includes Gilbane’s CEO and president and other senior executives. The Capstone event culminates in a formal graduation celebration.
  • One-to-one coaching/mentoring:MCAP graduates are matched with mentors from Gilbane’s Leadership Development Program for a six-month one-to-one mentoring engagement.


Since the program’s redesign, results have been positive: 

  • 100 percent of candidates were promoted while they were in the program versus 82 percentin the old management trainee program.
  • 85 percent of MCAP graduates have been promoted since completing the program.
  • 25 percent are in the succession pipeline to become future profit center leaders.
  • 48 percent are in the succession pipeline to become department heads.

When surveyed, 98 percent of graduates felt the program gave them the skills, knowledge, and resources to continue advancing their careers.

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