Workforce

Thanks to a Pre-Apprenticeship Program in Heavy Highway Construction, lives are changing. It's no secret that constructing highways and bridges (aka heavy highway construction) is an exciting field with higher than average job growth. The demand for a wide variety of road construction craft professions means companies are constantly looking for workers.

Employing skilled labor is a process: Identifying potential workers, recruiting them and training them. The industry has dedicated resources to attracting junior-high and high-school students for careers in construction. But there are whole groups of adult workers whose career fields have changed or jobs have disappeared.

Missouri State University, Colorado State University and Boise State University were recognized as the nation's most outstanding student construction chapters of 2019, the Associated General Contractors of America announced. The student chapters were honored in three categories: Emerging Student Chapter Award; Community Service Award; and Construction Management Skills Award.

Construction economists are not sugarcoating their outlook on the industry in 2020. The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (ELFF) forecasts slower growth in the economy next year, and predicts equipment investment will be weak. The Associated General Contractors and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers also expect moderate growth in the construction market.

Towmaster Trailers and Truck Equipment is one of several sponsors of a new hands-on, interactive and fun career exploration event that connects education and industry for high school sophomores in central Minnesota. "Ignite Your Future" is hosted by Ridgewater College in Hutchinson, Minn., and is geared toward contributing to the regional economic and workforce needs.

Associated General Contractors of California and the AGC Construction Education Foundation launched Build California, a comprehensive workforce development initiative created to inspire, engage, and activate the next generation of California's construction workforce.

On Oct. 2, Deutz Corporation partnered with ResourceMFG, an EmployBridge Company, to host Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) for approximately 40 students from nearby Jackson County Schools and Lanier Technical College. Created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International in 2012 and now produced by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), MFG DAY connects the nation's future workforce with potential employers and presents manufacturing careers in a more positive light.

A July 31 press conference in Toledo, Ohio, organized by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the AGC of Northwest Ohio highlighted the results of monthly analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data on construction employment in the nation's 358 metropolitan centers between June 2018 and June 2019.

With teams of secondary school students flocking to Park City, Utah, to compete in the final round of the 2019 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials National Bridge Challenge competition — an event that is part of the organization's annual spring meeting — the Utah Department of Transportation engaged in a "future workforce recruiting" effort.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (N.C. Dist. 12) recently met with officials of Ascendum Machinery and Associated Equipment Distributors at Ascendum's corporate offices to discuss workforce development. Attracting skilled workers remains a major challenge for all fields, but it is especially important for the construction equipment industry, which is losing more than $2.4 billion in revenue annually.

Maine is facing a shortage of loggers and log truckers that will grow and could hinder the growth of the $8.5 billion forest products industry in the state if wage growth does not occur, an occupational analysis released March 14 concludes. The employment availability and wage analysis prepared by the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine found wages for logging equipment operators and log truckers in Maine are lower than those for comparable jobs in competing industries in the state, and this combined with a tight labor market and looming retirement for large numbers of loggers is concerning for Maine's forest economy.