By Israel G. Torres, Managing Partner
Drive through any major city and you will see visible signs of a robust economy —construction cranes floating above skylines, infrastructure improvement projects providing transportation options, and new businesses opening to serve a growing population. Though not visible but equally as important, a healthy economy requires a pool of highly trained construction workers who can serve the immediate needs of employers and sustain the long-term growth of a region.
Let’s face it, economic growth suffers due to skilled construction worker shortages. A corporation is not going to invest in a new regional headquarters building if there aren’t quality workers to build and maintain the facility, and to build and maintain the supporting businesses, homes, schools, and hospitals that provide a better quality of life for the employees and their families.
We are facilitating conversations between our clients and stakeholders to address construction workforce development and worker readiness. We know that one of the best educational models for workforce development is the proven trade union apprenticeship program that is graduating students year after year. These privately funded programs have trained millions of skilled workers for decades with no cost to taxpayers. Apprentices earn while they learn, get valuable on-the-job training, and graduate with no debt. Best of all, having apprentices working on job sites under the supervision of experienced journeymen not only remedies the immediate skilled worker shortage, but also provides long-term solutions to worker readiness and workforce development issues. We know that investing in workforce development today means economic development tomorrow.
Next time you see those visible signs of a booming economy, I invite you to think about the workers who are behind it and the next generation of workers who will build our economic future. Join our efforts to promote quality apprenticeship programs graduating construction students into our next workforce.