By Katrina Kersch, Senior Director and Chief Operations Officer of NCCER It’s that time of year when we reflect on our accomplishments and set goals for a new and improved version of ourselves. For 2015, I would like to put forth a few New Year’s resolutions for our industry. Although not original ideas, these three resolutions could change the environment in which we operate.
  1. Establish commitment to workforce development by owners, contractors and specialty contractors. As all segments of our industry finally recognize the critical shortage of skilled craft professionals, the time has come to acknowledge that successful workforce programs require support and commitment by all stakeholders.
  1. Create a viable pipeline of future craft professionals. While other industries invest heavily in their future workforce, the construction industry, as a whole, is perpetually reacting to the market instead of looking beyond the immediate needs of our organizations. Our industry must collaborate to attract, train and retain skilled craft professionals.
  1. NCCER_CornerstoneFall2014-COVERUtilize assessment tools to provide upgrade training opportunities for our existing workforce. While thousands of craft professionals have taken skill assessments, relatively few have been provided an opportunity to participate in upgrade training. The impact of improving our current workforce cannot be overstated. Elevating the skills of our workers and thereby the productivity of our workforce will greatly improve our ability to put work in place with a smaller workforce. This should be a priority for contactors as the availability of a future workforce continues to shrink.
With construction starts expected to rise by about 10 percent in 2015 – almost double the estimated growth rate in 2014 – it is critical for our industry to continue to improve as we compete for a decreasing pool of skilled craft professionals. The new year brings plenty of opportunities to the industry, and I encourage all our stakeholders to make the most of them.  

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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.