Last year I reported that Go Build has its roots in Alabama. On January 17, 2012, Governor Nathan Deal announced the launch of the Go Build Georgia initiative. The goal of the initiative is to address the shortage of workers for skilled trades. Like Go Build Alabama, the initiative will focus on public outreach to educate the citizens of Georgia on the availability of career opportunities that exist today in construction. In the following video, Governor Deal introduces the initiative. He states:
“Everyone knows that this is a difficult job market, but not as many know that Georgia is projected to create approximately 16,500 openings in skilled trades in the next year alone. Go Build is about providing Georgians with the training that they need to fill these positions.”
As with Go Build Alabama, Mike Rowe, executive producer and host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”. will partner and serve as spokesperson for the initiative. In a video posted on the Go Build Georgia website, he says that it is important to stop encouraging everyone to pursue a college degree over a career in the skilled trades. Rowe explains:
“If you have the desire and the money to pay for a four-year degree, I say ‘go for it’. But look, we need to stop promoting higher education at the expense of every other form of learning. It’s just crazy, and leads to unintended consequences, and right now we’ve got a big one: it’s called a skills gap. And the skills gap is bad news for anybody who’s addicted to paved roads, or electricity, or indoor plumbing. Welders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, steamfitters, pipefitters – all across the country there’s shortages in these areas, even with unemployment going through the roof. It’s crazy. Fifty years ago those jobs were critical. They still are. The problem is we just don’t value them the way we used to, so we don’t encourage people to pursue them. We are so focused on getting into the ‘corner office’, we forgot how to build a corner office.”
Mike Rowe has launched his own website, Mike Rowe Works, to promote the skilled trades as not an alternative career path, but as an attractive and rewarding career path. The website includes a video which we showed you last year of Mike Rowe testifying before the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in May 2011.
Construction Citizen has highlighted several important initiatives that could impact our ability to attract, train, and retain a highly skilled workforce and bring back the pride of being a craft professional. As Rowe states, “Not all knowledge comes from college.”