The Associated General Contractors of America is working through its local chapters to find ways to address the catch-22 of older workers retiring while fewer graduating students are entering the industry. AGC is starting chartered schools to teach interested kids about the construction industry.
They have partnered to establish charter schools such as the ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico; OBC Academy for Architecture, Construction and Engineering in Portland, Oregon; Construction Careers Center in St. Louis, Missouri; and Academy of Career Education in Sparks, Nevada.
Recently, AGC economist Ken Simonson spoke to the Denver Chapter of AGC. In pointing out the looming shortages, he pointed to the recently published AGC report Preparing the Next Generation of Skilled Construction Workers: a Workforce Development Plan for the 21st Century. The plan outlines what federal, state and local officials can do to create construction training programs and fill the pipeline for jobs.
An article in the Denver Business Journal by Cathy Proctor outlines some key points from the AGC report:
“The elements of the plan, include:
- The federal government can reform the Perkins Career & Technical Education Act, which funds vocational education programs, to give states more flexibility in how the [grant] money is spent, Simonson said.
- Federal funding should be increased for career and technical training programs.
- State and local officials can create new charter schools that focus on construction and manufacturing skills.
- States can enact legislation allowing high school students to enroll tuition-free in public community college career and technical programs.
- And the federal government can enact comprehensive immigration reform. ‘It’s important that we’re able to draw workers from other countries,’ Simonson said.”
These are just some of the actions being undertaken by the industry to solve the skilled workforce shortage, but an ultimate solution must include workforce training by individual companies to ensure that the new workforce is properly trained and that jobsites are safe and secure.
You can read more in this article published by Equipment World: More funding, charter schools part of AGC’s plan to thwart construction’s skilled worker shortage.