By Don Whyte, President of NCCER As the construction industry continues to recover and a highly competitive market re-emerges, it is critical for contractors to have an effective workforce development program. Our industry’s once large pool of skilled craft professionals is significantly reduced and continues to erode. Research from the Construction Labor Market Analyzer’s (CLMA) 20/20 Foresight Report for winter 2014 predicts that one-sixth of the workforce will leave the industry over the next decade, and there are not enough young workers entering the industry and our training programs to replace those who leave. To shift this momentum, contractors must motivate older workers to stay longer and train young craft professionals with the skills they need to succeed in the industry. Contractors will also need to engage with training partners and education to attract and train new and younger workers to the industry. MPG_US_TalentShortagVertInfogrphcFINALThe CLMA forecasts that more than 2 million new craft professionals will be needed in our industry by 2017. According to ManpowerGroup, a global workforce solutions firm, skilled trades has been the number one hardest job to fill globally for the past three consecutive years and in the top three for the past seven consecutive years. If the construction industry does not significantly elevate its commitment to recruiting and developing the current and future workforce soon, it will likely face severe workforce challenges ahead. As a result of the anticipated future workforce challenges, successful contractors and owners know that everyone in the industry needs to be engaged in this issue. A skilled workforce is a productive workforce, and owners need to make workforce development a non-negotiable expectation, while contractors need to boost their level of commitment to it. CWDA-bannerA new assessment tool, the Contractors Workforce Development Assessment (CWDA), allows owners and contractors to proactively evaluate the workforce development efforts of contractors and subcontractors who work on their projects. The CWDA objectively measures the quality of a contractor’s workforce development program and their commitment to it. It also enables owners to prequalify contractors based on the quality of their workforce development programs, which will ultimately promote safer, on-time and on-budget projects. Research shows that training narrows the skills gap, saves money and increases worker loyalty and productivity. Contractors that offer training to their workers will undoubtedly complete more projects on schedule and within budget than those that do not. By increasing the level of quality in our workforce, our industry’s reputation will continue to improve, and we will attract more skilled workers. I commend all the contractors that are currently making strides to develop the skills of our craft professionals and making our industry desirable for individuals to build careers.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.