By Carl Peters, Director of Training for The Lincoln Electric Company iStock_000036331162XLargeSMALLAccording to the 2014 Construction Outlook Survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, 77 percent of construction executives agree that the most important issue facing the construction industry is training the new generation of skilled craft workers. Furthermore, the single biggest workforce challenge is difficulty filling professional and craft worker positions. This rising demand for young individuals in the industry makes it more important than ever for us to enhance and improve our industry’s recruitment channels. NCCER 1406 Spring_cover with titleSMALLThe article, “The Age of Human Potential: Attracting Millennials to the Construction Industry,” in the current issue of The Cornerstone, examines various recruitment channels that are in place to combat the workforce challenges our industry is facing. As these challenges deepen and a highly competitive market emerges, recruiting the millennial generation (which includes the 14 to 35 age demographic) is essential to the success of our industry. It is critical to have a workforce that has the skills to perform and knowledge to understand what to do and why. We not only have a skills gap, but we also have a knowledge gap. For example, a 50-year-old welder not only knows how to weld a solid bead, but he knows why it is needed in each situation. It is that knowledge that needs to be passed on to the next generation. According to the Brookings Institute, millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. To prepare for the ongoing skilled workforce shortage, the construction industry needs to begin attracting and retaining young individuals. One way to recruit millennials is to get involved with youth development organizations like SkillsUSA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Future Farmers of America (FFA). These organizations generate opportunities for workforce development in our industry because the youths involved are seeking relevant and exciting career pathways. The Boy Scouts of America has more than 300 councils nationwide looking for industry support and the FFA has more than 550,000 students in programs across the country. Many of the students in FFA programs have leadership roles within the organization, yet what is often overlooked is that only a few choose a career in agriculture. This missed opportunity presents a significant recruiting opportunity for our industry. In addition to becoming more involved in career service organizations, contractors should start their recruitment searches with local organizations to bring awareness to careers in our industry. County fairs and festivals present opportunities for us to educate young individuals about careers in construction and connect at the local level. Participating in job fairs and construction industry competitions at the state and regional level are other viable recruitment channels. It is critical for us to stay competitive in attracting and retaining millennials, or we will continue to lose talented, young individuals to other career pathways. BYF_logo_finalNCCER’s national image enhancement and recruitment initiative, Build Your Future (BYF), has released a series of videos this October in celebration of Careers in Construction Month. The videos are designed to establish an emotional connection with the construction industry. A different video from the series is being released each Friday on BYF's YouTube page. Check out the second video in the "What If?" series below!

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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.