A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

New National Construction Workforce Campaign Announced

Mike Rowe, star of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on May 5.  He testified about the current construction industry workforce and announced a new initiative in partnership with Discovery Communications called Discover Your Skills.

His remarks to the committee included his desire for a national PR campaign to attract much needed workers to get trained to fill the skilled-labor gap which is imminent in the industry.  In the following video of his testimony, he points out:

“We talk about creating millions of “shovel-ready jobs” for a society that doesn’t really encourage people to pick up a shovel.  In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a good job into something that no longer looks like work.”  

During his testimony, Rowe stated:

“The fact is, there are many initiatives out there making a difference. The problem that so many encounter though, is a tendency to "preach to the choir." With respect to issues like the skills gap, we too often speak only to the people directly involved, the employers, desperate to hire skilled talent, and the unemployed, woefully untrained for the task at hand. To really make a difference, we need to change the perceptions of a much larger audience, and challenge the prevailing definition of a "good job." Americans need to see these workers for what they are - the key to civilized life as we know it. And that means a campaign and a message that reaches everybody.

Toward that end, I'm pleased to help launch a broad-based initiative sponsored by Discovery Communications that will reach millions and millions of people. Discovery's goal is to empower both unemployed and underemployed Americans with access to critical resources that will assist them in obtaining marketable job skills.”

Rowe is quickly becoming a major spokesman for the future of the construction industry workforce and we applaud his efforts to make a difference in the future workforce.


Administrator's picture

Anonymous's picture

We actually don't have a "skills gap" in the American construction industry. The industry cannot provide anything close to full time year round employment for the skilled workforce it already has!

In fact, between immigration and all the young people graduating from trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges and the union apprenticeship programs, our industry is going to have a labor SURPLUS for the foreseeable future.

The non union contractors who, nationally, make up about 80% of the industry do have a problem with the fact that many of them do not pay living wages to their skilled trades workers.

Also, all contractors, union and non union alike, have the problem of not providing employment stability to their workforce.

As long as our industry is a casual labor "feast or famine" business, we are going to have a problem with workers leaving the trades for more stable non construction jobs and who can blame them?

Tim's picture

It is true that the required skill or craftsmanship has deteriorated from what it once was however craftsman are not given precious time to install or maintain a great product. Most job postings are written by someone who does not even understand what they should be looking for, an example would be hiring a company is looking for a Commercial Plumber in Indiana yet the job ad reads certified Plumber with license a plus. In Indiana a licence is required for all apprentices,journeyman or contractors. In fact the only way you are not required to be licensed is performing a maintenance job working for a direct company. So the skills gap has much to do with the people hiring as much as the tradesman. It is also true that construction is a feast or famine career. Many times you will hear from a tradesman is the only thing certain about construction is the uncertainty.

Add new comment