By Chuck Rotondo
Brian Binke of Construction Today, an online magazine, recently wrote an article titled “Solving the Skilled Labor Shortage in Construction.” He listed four approaches to attract more skilled workers to the industry. They are:
1. Allocating Funds
Binke suggests “the government to take a portion of the money they dedicate to four-year colleges and put those funds towards getting more people enrolled in trade schools.”
While not everyone may be the “college-type,” doing so would give these students a chance to excel outside of the educational arena. If the government took this step, there would be more collaboration between government, businesses, and the education system, which is a positive step in the right direction.
“With more collaboration, we will see more success with students completing skilled trade programs in community colleges and trade schools,” he adds.
2. The Case for Trade Schools
For many people, it takes less than half the time to complete a training program than to finish a four-year degree program. Additionally, trade school is often a more economical choice with a lower cost.
“Many of the old manufacturing jobs are not coming back,” Binke states. “The days of a human being putting doors on cars all day in an assembly line are over. Robotic technology is completing that work and eliminating those jobs. However, skilled manufacturing jobs will continue to be in demand and skilled workers are needed to fill those positions.”
3. Expanding Awareness
Just as Oldcastle Building Solutions has done through our involvement with the ACE Mentor Program and our Industry Insights blog, creating awareness about the demand for skilled labor is a need. However, there is more room for improvement.
“Businesses need to get more involved on high school and middle school campuses to be a part of the conversation. They need to raise awareness for the demand for skilled construction workers to fill high-paying construction jobs with upward mobility,” Binke says.
“The market will improve as they step up their involvement at high school career days, job fairs, and on-campus events.”
4. Thinking Outside the Box
Binke also suggests “that companies get creative and think outside of the box.” Examples of this include sponsoring scholarships that will help students get through community college training programs or trade school. Often, businesses will guarantee a job with their company when the student completes their training.
“Businesses are optimistic about a change in tides with the labor shortage. The impact of what they can do will improve the market,” Binke says. “Yet, they can’t let up the effort. The effort made now is what’s changing the future in construction.”