A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Skilled Worker Shortage Persists

Last month the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released the results of a national survey of nearly 700 construction firms which revealed that 74% of construction firms are having trouble finding qualified workers.  Companies are worried that there will simply not be enough skilled craft workers available to meet the growing demand for construction as the economy rebounds from the recent downturn.  AGC officials are calling for immigration and education reform measures to help avoid worker shortages.  An AGC press release quotes Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of AGC of America, who said:

“Many construction firms are already having a hard time finding qualified workers and expect construction labor shortages will only get worse.  We need to take short- and long-term steps to make sure there are enough workers to meet future demand and avoid the costly construction delays that would come with labor shortages.”

Sandherr mentioned that many companies are mentoring future craft workers, participating in career fairs, supporting high school construction skills academies, and offering internships for construction professionals.  The press release continues:

“[Sandherr] urged elected and appointed officials to do more to ensure public school students have an opportunity to participate in programs that teach skills like construction.  He added that skills-based programs offer students a more hands-on way to learn vital 21st century skills such as math and science.  Such programs also have been proven to reduce dropout rates and give students an opportunity to earn the higher pay and benefits that come with construction jobs.”

Following the release of the survey, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the Construction Careers Academy is one example of what the industry needs more of.  At the magnet-school academy, students study various career tracks including engineering, architecture, and crafts such as heating/air-conditioning, carpentry, plumbing, welding and electrical.  According to the article:

“The academy will graduate 85 to 90 students next spring and eventually more than 100 a year after that, all with industry certifications and college credits.  It is successful to the point that academy principal Phillip Edge receives calls from contractors asking for names of graduates to hire.”

The following links open survey results which AGC provided for the 15 states with larger survey samples.  How do these results compare with your local experience?

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