“We don’t have a skills gap. We have a thinking gap,” writes Lou Adler in an article for the Business Insider, “Close The Skills Gap By Throwing Out Job Descriptions.”
Adler, CEO and founder of The Adler Group, a training and search firm that helps companies implement performance-based hiring, argues that the skills gap can be closed by tossing out traditional job descriptions.
“At its core, the problem is the continued use of traditional skills-infested job descriptions as the de facto barrier-to-entry,” Adler writes.
And he may have a point for some industries.
But for construction, we know that no matter how you spin it, demand is expected to rise in the current decade:
- 49 percent for reinforcing iron and rebar workers;
- 42 percent for glaziers; and
- 40 percent for brickmasons and blockmasons
We also know that if we keep down the same path we are on, within five years, the construction industry will be short at least 1.6 million workers who have the skills to perform these jobs.
That sounds like a skills gap to me.
The only way we really can close this gap is to teach workers the correct skills. We need to make sure we are encouraging students to consider construction as a career, creating innovative partnerships and making sure we have the capacity to train these workers.
Like Louisiana’s Course Choice program, we should be telling high school students that the road to success is not always through a one-size-fits-all process that includes colleges and provide them with alternatives.
Like the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust’s innovative partnership with the Naval Engineering Facilities Command, we should be looking at ways to partner with other organizations.
And like ABC of Iowa’s new 24,400-square-foot Iowa Construction Education Center, we need to ensure we have the capacity to train the number of workers we need to meet the demand.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of groups out there working to bridge this skills gap with innovative thinking and targeted action.