A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Workforce Development Crucial For Construction

As the economy and the construction industry begin to recover, it is highly likely that we will experience a severe shortage of skilled workers.  In fact, even in a depressed market, many employers struggle to find qualified craft professionals.  With the average age of the craft professional approaching 50, and the projection that 20% of the construction workforce will retire in the next 2-4 years, the time for action is now.

Employers should be readying their workforce for the upturn by focusing on the needs of their incumbent workers.  As recovery begins, attracting young new entrants and providing training for their employees will be a must for any successful contractor, but plans for accomplishing this should be made now.  In the end, investing in the skills and credentials of your employees will provide your company with an excellent return on your investment through increased employee loyalty, motivation, safety and productivity.

According to CareerBuilder's 2010 Mid-Year Job Forecast, 22% of employers reported that despite an abundant labor pool, they still have positions for which they can't find qualified candidates.  Along these same lines, the 2010 workforce survey conducted by Manpower Inc. found that construction ranked #1 for demand of qualified workers with construction skilled trade employment requests being the most difficult to fill.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and the Construction Workforce Development Center, an affiliate organization of CURT which focuses on workforce development issues, are working together to head the Choose Construction Initiative (CCI), which focuses on recruitment, training, retention and image-enhancement within the construction industry.  CCI will take a well-rounded approach to careers in construction, by leading new potential candidates to opportunities in training, advanced education and job-placement opportunities.  We believe this multifaceted strategy will help recruits build strong foundations to maximize their opportunities while simultaneously helping the industry narrow its workforce challenges.

As an industry, we have the programs and the capacity to meet this challenge, but we must elevate our desire to truly develop our workforce.  Owners and contractors can no longer just pay homage to workforce development, they must commit to it.


Anonymous's picture

I wonder if this stems from our contempt for trade school and admiration for college as a nation?

Bridget Willard

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