The Construction Industry is in desperate need of a sustainable workforce. But, what does sustainable really mean? A sustainable workforce is one that balances supply of skilled craft workers to the demand produced for their craft. Based on the average age of Houston’s current craft workforce, the demand for skilled labor will continue to rise as senior craft professionals reach retirement over the next decade. To meet the growing demand for safe, skilled craft professionals, we must realize there is a shortage of labor resources and we must change the way we approach the “skilling up” of craft professionals that are entering the ranks as laborers and helpers.
For the last few decades, Houston’s commercial construction workforce has had an adequate supply of practicing craft professionals that were already highly skilled and required little or no training. As this workforce performed well and was adequate for demand, many training programs waned or fell by the wayside. During the Great Recession, a large number of craft workers left the industry or found jobs in other industries. With the current uptick in the construction industry, the dwindling labor pool and the aging workforce, Houston is already experiencing workforce sustainability issues.
At C3, we saw this trend coming and established taskforces to explore possible solutions, yet the industry continues to neglect the development of craft training programs that will lead unskilled workers toward lifelong careers as skilled craft professionals. We continue to rely on “haphazard” and “hit or miss” training methods hoping that miraculously we will produce highly skilled craft workers for our jobsites. To survive the next two decades, we must break free of the way we have “always done things” and move to a stronger, more productive model for growing the skilled workforce.
Imagine our current model is like a pickup stuck in the mud. Experience tells us that the truck will remain in the mud unless we take action. We can either spin the tires and hope they find enough traction to move us forward or we can get out of the truck and dig ourselves out. While the first option might take less personal effort, the odds of good results are slim and eventually the truck may sink even further into the mud. While the second option requires more effort, may get messy and even require help, it will eventually move the truck out of the mud and get us moving toward our destination.
Our current training strategies, like the truck, have us stuck in the mud spinning our tires. C3 is here to offer the help you need to dig your training program out of the mud and put you back on level ground. As a benefit to all C3 Accredited Employers, you can work alongside a workforce and training coach or join a cohort group that is working on the same training and skilled workforce issues as your company. C3 cohort groups meet and share ideas, challenges and successes of their craft training program development and implementation. Members of those cohort groups benefit from the guided facilitation of sessions covering different aspects of the Leader level Craft Training Endorsement Program. If meeting in a cohort group isn’t conducive for your company, we can deliver customized monthly or quarterly sessions for your training team or you individually.
Digging the truck out of the mud is much easier with help so don’t hesitate to sign up. Cohort groups are forming now, contact Angela Murphy at 713.999.1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)