one_industry_hard_hats_lgBy Chris Towery, Guest Contributor In order to transform an industry and make significant, lasting changes, leaders have to come together and agree upon the greater mission. Fortunately, NCCER’s founders understood the necessity for this type of collaboration and were able to put the needs of the industry above those of their individual organizations. Indeed, the collaborative spirit of NCCER’s partners has given true credence to the famous saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Built by Industry NCCER’s origins can be traced back to 1991 when it was part of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Construction Education Foundation. During this time, 11 of the nation’s leading contractors came together to address the emerging shortage of skilled workers. Together, these organizations donated subject matter experts and funding to begin the process of standardizing competency-based training curricula for the industry. Several of these contractors also donated their in-house craft training curricula. This joint effort led to the creation of NCCER as an independent entity dedicated to developing and managing craft training and credentialing for the industry. With many of the country’s leading contractors and ABC onboard, NCCER was off to a good start. However, NCCER leaders believed it was also essential to bring the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) into the fold as an association partner. “The hope was that NCCER could become the training and education source for the construction industry,” said Bill Pinto, a former NCCER chairman and board member for ABC National. “The two major construction associations in the U.S. were ABC and AGC. So for NCCER to be the leading industry education and training resource speaking with one voice, it also needed the support of AGC.” AGC was initially hesitant to join NCCER, but after it became clear that NCCER would be an independent organization and not an extension of ABC, AGC partnered and donated its training curriculum. With AGC onboard, NCCER combined the best elements of all the individual training programs into one system. With both ABC and AGC working together, NCCER was firmly established as an industry representative of workforce development. Peter Wert, a former NCCER chairman and president of AGC, was a driving force in getting AGC to join NCCER. “The unity within the industry, in terms of the associations and the leading individuals that gave rise to NCCER, was unique in my personal experience,” said Wert. “A natural competitiveness existed between AGC and ABC, but as we created NCCER’s board of trustees, I found that competition—at least among trustees—disappeared. The board was intensely focused on building NCCER and creating a new training order for the U.S. construction industry. The success of NCCER over the past 20 years is a testament to the vision and goodwill of all those who gave so much to make it a reality.” The time, money and materials the founding partners invested in NCCER have paid huge dividends not only for the industry, but for each of the individual organizations involved as well.  As an independent organization supported by industry, NCCER is able to bring a level of quality and integrity to its training and certification that is far superior to anything that existed previously. “NCCER added a level of credibility to craft training that had not been there before,” said Bob Piper, former vice president of workforce development at ABC National. “NCCER was able to get other associations on board to develop the best curricula on the market. Our workforce is now using curricula that are nationally recognized, not only by ABC, but industrywide.” wfd_committee_03302016croppedThe major contractor associations are not the only ones that benefit from their relationship with NCCER. Specialty contractor associations that work with NCCER reap similar rewards. For example, NCCER and longtime partner the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) worked together to develop an industry-leading curriculum for sprinkler fitting. “We do better when we work together to leverage the experience and resources of each organization involved,” said Steve Muncy, president of AFSA. “Working with NCCER helps our association expand its scope and reach, which would be difficult for any one association to achieve on its own.” Another longtime partner of NCCER’s is the North American Crane Bureau (NACB). Together, the two organizations jointly develop curricula for crane operators and other related crafts. NACB president Ted Blanton Sr. said that working with NCCER saved his organization vast sums of time and money, and he recommends others in the industry take the same route. “NACB is primarily focused on training crane operators, riggers, signal persons and other equipment operators,” said Blanton. “NCCER provides excellent curricula for these programs as well as many other crafts. The price of developing these materials is extremely high, so rather than taking on the monumental task of developing a training program in-house, organizations can work with NCCER and take advantage of the resources it has already created.” Cover1605For the rest of the story, read the full article in NCCER’s Cornerstone magazine.

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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.