A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Workforce Development Solutions From The Leader In Construction Education

Historically, the passing of construction knowledge between generations has varied. Master craftsmen would train apprentices with their own unique and sometimes well-guarded techniques. Companies would teach new hires in different ways, and often, that education would not translate to a new employer, a new region or even a new job site. While individualized and company-specific training has value, it is not scalable or portable—especially considering the undeniably fluid nature of the construction workforce. The lack of consistency caused difficulty for hiring managers, who had no way to verify the skills of their candidates without formalized training records, and employers, who began to take notice of the correlation between a lack of training and their bottom line.

With these challenges in mind and an emerging workforce shortage, 11 leading contractors came together in the mid-1990s to standardize training and provide industry-recognized credentials. From those beginnings, the first standardized craft curricula were developed and led to the founding of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) in 1996.

Nearly three decades later, NCCER is the leading not-for-profit foundation providing construction training for industry and career and technical education programs. The organization bridges the gap between industry and education with flexible workforce development and learning solutions that provide consistency and quality to ensure craft professionals and learners receive industry-recognized certifications and credentials. With training in over 40 crafts and multiple construction disciplines, NCCER’s standardized, module-based program structure allows trainees to transition seamlessly from high school craft training to postsecondary or apprenticeship programs and into careers in the industry. 

Whether learning to swing a hammer or oversee a project site, the following are the foundational components of NCCER that make its programs renowned for industry-leading craft training.

Curricula Developed by Experts

Industry plays a crucial role in ensuring NCCER curricula are up-to-date and fulfilling the needs and expectations of employers. Continually maintaining curricula that meet NCCER’s rigorous and relevant educational standards is accomplished with the assistance and input of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

SMEs are experienced industry veterans who impart their wisdom by helping conceptualize, write and review components of NCCER Curricula. Their influence is reflected in textbooks, module tests, performance profiles, assessments and more. As new curricula are created or older ones updated, the experts provide the guidance needed to ensure learners are instructed on the necessary skills of their craft.

NCCER also works with committees and delegations made up of representatives from both industry and education. These groups provide additional feedback and guidance for NCCER products and services to help keep them in line with their ever-evolving sectors.

Modular Training and Credentials to Build Upon

Most construction craft professionals do not receive all their training at the same place or pace – many may start in high school, then move to a community college or apprenticeship program, or jump directly into full-time employment with on-the-job training and opportunities for upskilling. To account for this variability, NCCER’s training is modular and flexible by design, and the credentials are tied to the individual learner.

Its vast catalog of craft modules provides the ability to pick and choose exactly what a company or educational institution needs. Each module of training can stand alone and includes a knowledge and performance test that results in a credential. Pre-designed programs are also available that meet the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship time requirements, making NCCER an ideal turn-key solution for contractors and associations. In addition, many crafts are tiered with up to four levels of advancement, offering a straightforward and logical progression of training.

The module and level-based curricula set the foundation for NCCER’s portable credentials, which are awarded to trainees upon successful completion of educational benchmarks. These credentials allow a learner’s progress to be tracked in NCCER’s Registry, updated with which modules and levels were completed. It also provides recommended training to help address skill gaps.

This model allows for more efficient training and more effective communication between all parties. 

Construction employers receive clear insight into potential hires to understand what skills they have and what they can do in the field.

The Digital Era

Over the past five years, NCCER has made significant strides in digital learning. From online testing to interactive learning aids embedded throughout digital curricula, the company has embraced technology and used it to empower its network with tools that meet modern needs. One example of this is the newly released Construction Superintendent Certification Program, NCCER’s first completely online learning experience. From online testing to interactive learning aids embedded throughout digital curricula, the company has embraced technology and used it to empower its network with tools that meet modern needs. One example of this is the newly released Construction Superintendent Certification Program, NCCER’s first completely online learning experience.

The new 16-course program assists contractors in developing and certifying qualified construction superintendent professionals who oversee the operations of a construction site, from planning to completion. It provides expert insight to learners, whether they are current project leaders looking to hone their skills, craft professionals seeking advancement, or recent graduates beginning their careers

The courses can be taken as a fully online self-paced program or incorporated into company-driven initiatives to develop their field leadership. 

With more online learning options coming in 2024, stay informed on these advancements by signing up for NCCER’s bi-monthly Breaking Ground newsletter at nccer.org/subscribe.

How NCCER Can Help

Research has proven training leads to an increase in productivity and quality while reducing absenteeism, rework, and injury. It has also been cited as a key factor in recruiting and retaining talent, increasing client satisfaction, and driving company growth. NCCER understands that contractors are in the business of building, not developing training—and this is where NCCER can help. 

NCCER’s comprehensive workforce development system provides recruitment, training and retention resources. Contractors may use the entire system or just the pieces they need. A few ways companies utilize NCCER to solve workforce development challenges are through:

· Administering just-in-time training by identifying and training for competencies in which their people need further development.

· Evaluating individuals pre-hire or during onboarding for better job placement and evaluating their existing workforce to determine training needs.

· Utilizing the many resources available through NCCER’s Build Your Future initiative to recruit students into construction careers.

Regardless of company size or specialization, NCCER provides resources and expert guidance on ways to build and enhance your construction workforce. Visit nccer.org/wfd to contact NCCER’s workforce development solutions team for recommendations on how its programs might benefit your company.