Got Skills?

We can see it plainly or read it in the newspapers. Cranes dot city skylines and all industry indicators point to a continued booming economy. In the construction industry, growth has been even more rapid, and contractors are struggling to fill positions at every level. The drastic shortage of skilled tradesmen and women isn’t just on the horizon, it’s affecting projects today. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports there will be 68% more job openings in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people in training to fill them. The question for many of the nation’s top contracting companies is “How do you build a carpenter?”

“It’s a hot topic, ‘skilled and trained’. There’s just not enough guys in the trade,” said Todd Stragier, Vice President of Field Operations for Neff Construction, a signatory contractor with SWRCC. “Not just carpentry – all the way across the board – we need to get more people in the trades. Everybody needs to be aware of what they can gain by joining the Carpenters Union.”

Meanwhile, colleges continue to tout the value of four-year degrees, but things on the ground are shaking out differently. “We need to get back into high schools and get them to understand that not every child is going to go college,” said Stragier. “Some of the kids who aren’t [going to college] get the impression they don’t have a future. They need to know there is a future out there for them where they can be happy. They can make a living, afford to buy a home and feed their family, and have the support they need to have a successful career, but unless we reach out and get to those communities, that won’t happen.”

Southwest Carpenters Training Centers are finding new ways to reach out to students and employers, to show them this value.

More high schools are recognizing valuable programs, such as Career Connections and apprenticeships, as the pathways to higher education for some graduates. Southwest Carpenters Training Centers are finding new ways to reach out to students and employers, to show them this value. “Our goal is a clear and achievable pathway to the middle class for some of the brightest young talents in our communities,” said Max Murphy, Southwest Carpenters representative. “And many of our carpenters will earn more than middle class wages. When you add in benefits, like full-family medical, dental, vision, and a pension, we’re looking at earning potential which exceeds that of a college graduate, without the college debt,” Murphy continued.

Contractors can rely on the Southwest Carpenter Training Centers to get their workers the cutting-edge, practical skills they need as well as the leadership development necessary for a productive jobsite. “Our industry over the last forty years has become accustomed to a ‘sink or swim’ style of workforce development,” Murphy said. “It is time to evolve. Our signatory contractors are not neck-down organizations. SWRCC is helping our industry partners navigate a cultural evolution. We’re focused on investing in people through our training programs. Whether you’re a carpenter, or a contractor just starting a more formal training program or are interested in additional opportunities to supplement what you are already doing, I urge you to reach out to us to help build a strong foundation,” Murphy concluded.

For more information on practical and other skills development, contact 213-700-1630.