When Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) was sworn in as the National Governor’s Association Chairman, she announced a year-long effort to improve workforce development partnerships at the state level and elevate the importance of post-secondary credentials. As part of this initiative, Gov. Fallin has invited other governors to participate in regional summits to discuss workforce development and education policy improvements. The first of these summits was held last week in Connecticut.
For the upcoming meeting next week in New Mexico, we are happy to report that Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan Executive Director Chris Fisher was invited by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) staff to help provide the construction industry’s perspective on career training and workforce development. ABC of Michigan has been a leader in working to modify Michigan’s graduation requirements to provide students with greater flexibility to pursue Career and Technical Education opportunities.
This is especially important because, despite the nation’s growing shortage of skilled construction craft professionals, construction training does not appear to be included in Gov. Fallin’s initiative. Simple research into data provided by the federal government’s CareerOneStop.org shows that 7 out of the top 10 fastest growing occupations that require a high school degree for entry are in the construction industry. The fastest growing occupation that requires some post-secondary training is also in construction. Without a significant focus on creating robust construction training programs, there will be a shortfall of skilled craftspeople to fill this demand.