According to a survey of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) members, 75 percent of respondents’ companies are experiencing a shortage of willing and qualified craft professionals. These results support the findings of the Construction Labor Market Analyzers’ 20/20 Foresight Report, which shows there will be a nationwide shortage of nearly 2 million skilled craft workers by 2017.
ABC and its 70 chapters are working hard to close this gap through training. Check out this interactive map of ABC’s training centers nationwide.
ABC also rewards exceptional craft trainees at its annual National Craft Championships, an intense two-day event, during which young men and women compete in one of 13 competitions representing 11 crafts. And then there is the Student Chapter Construction Management Competition that allows construction management students to compete in a bid-day format that uses real-life examples of projects and scores them on their presentations.
But training and recognizing stand-out construction students and trainees is only part of the equation for making workforce development a priority for the construction industry and potential craft workers.
We need to make sure we are encouraging students to consider construction as a career, creating innovative partnerships, promoting construction as a viable career path and working with federal legislators to increase access to temporary workers.
That’s why ABC also supports U.S. immigration policy reform that facilitates a sustainable workforce. ABC and its members are encouraging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support a bill that includes an effective guest worker program that responds to labor market demand and does not burden the construction industry with inflexible requirements and arbitrary caps. The industry must be able to legally supplement its workforce when there are not a sufficient number of willing or able American workers to continue to meet U.S. construction demand.
In addition, WorkforceUnderConstruction.com helps raise the profile of construction and merit shop training by highlighting efforts across the nation to build the merit shop construction workforce.
But we need your help to effectively tell the merit shop training story. If you’re doing something amazing, let us know. If you know someone with a great on-the-job tale, encourage them to reach out. And together, we will be able to bridge this skills gap.