After 13 years in the making, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Iowa Aug. 21 celebrated the launch of their new 24,400-square-foot Iowa Construction Education Center during an open house and member appreciation event that included tours, speeches and a flag dedication ceremony for the nearly 170 attendees.
Greg Hoberock, 2013 ABC National Chairman and president and CEO of hth companies, inc., Union, Mo., who spoke at the event, cited numbers from the Department of Labor that shows the industry will be 1.6 million skilled workers short over the next five years.
“Training is the key,” Hoberock said. “Facilities like this are the key to the future of the next generation. We have to invest in the future, we have to invest in training.”
Mike McCoy, chair of the Iowa Apprenticeship & Training Trust and president, ACI Mechanical, Inc., Ames, Iowa echoed Hoberock’s words in his speech.
“This industry—across all construction—is short employees and it’s just expected to get worse over the next decade,” McCoy said. “When you look at this facility and think about the potential, right now we have a select group of educational offerings, but there are many, many more in the process of development right now. The welding program is just one of them that will be coming relatively quickly,” McCoy said.
The remodeling work on the 16,000-square-foot building and construction of the 8,400-square-foot addition began in November 2012 by ABC of Iowa member Garling Construction, Inc., Belle Plaine, Iowa. All of the major building and remodeling work was done by ABC of Iowa members firms. In addition, to Garling, there were 25 other ABC of Iowa members involved in the project.
“This facility only happened because of the commitment numerous ABC of Iowa members made to be sure this project was built within budget and safely,” ABC of Iowa Chair, Ray Conway of Proctor Mechanical Corporation, West Des Moines, Iowa said. “Today marks the end of this construction project, but today is only the beginning of a new era for ABC of Iowa. In this new era we will reach greater heights as the premier provider of apprenticeship and construction craft training here in Iowa.”
According to ABC of Iowa Chapter President & CEO Greg Spenner, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the work on this project by our members. And, as an industry, we can be proud of the new Iowa Construction Education Center, a facility that truly showcases the very best that merit shop contractors have to offer.”
The training center is located at 3100 SE Enterprise Drive, Grimes, Iowa.
In addition to Hoberock and McCoy, David Chapin, president of Willmar Electric Service, Lincoln, Neb., Regional Vice Chair for the Midwest Region also spoke at the event.
A video of the transformation of the training center from beginning to end can be seen here.