Technology has quite literally brought the world to our fingertips. The touch of a button or click of a mouse shows us wonders built on the other side of the world or lets us watch puppy videos that make us laugh. The internet has grown into a tool that is utilized by 77 percent of American adults daily. In fact, that number increases to 94 percent when expanded to 15- to 24-year-olds worldwide. The surge of technological advancement brings a slew of new experiences — from how we communicate to our expectation of how quickly things are available — we’ve become adapted to having information immediately. For companies to connect with the younger generations, they will need to join the digital world. However, it’s important to understand that making any move to digital should answer an important question — what is its benefit? Utilizing technology is one way to make a connection with the next generation of workers, in fact, it’s absolutely necessary. PullQuote-TechnologyAlthough the construction industry has a natural appeal — it’s hands-on, offers traveling opportunities, provides job satisfaction and more — it can be thought of as a fallback or secondary career choice. It has become typical to think attending a traditional college is required to be successful when the reality is many who graduate with a four-year degree are finding it difficult to gain employment. Alternatively, construction laborer made CareerBuilder’s list of top jobs to get ahead in 2018 and does not require a college degree while nine other construction positions were included on Indeed’s list of best jobs to have. With the industry facing an estimated shortage of 1.5 million craft professionals by 2021, appealing to the younger generation is a must. We have to demonstrate to the younger generations and their parents that construction not only has jobs of high value, in both income and fulfilment, but that it will remain relevant and is growing in connectivity.   As the majority of young people are using the internet, digital technology must be included throughout companies’ developments and products. At NCCER, as a construction education foundation, we started with our online Registry System by maintaining industry-recognized, portable credentials and certifications for craft professionals. Understanding that blended learning and untraditional classroom settings are part the appeal for those who like to work with their hands, we consciously chose to develop an online testing system as the next step in our own digital movement. With the testing system, craft instructors have less administration requirements which gives them back more time to ensure their students are getting ample practical experience. When the younger generation eventually grows into new roles in the construction industry, online testing will resonate as they are familiar with digital components in learning. Understanding that the world will only continue to grow in connectivity, NCCER considers the online testing system just a step on the path to going digital followed by a fully online curriculum coming in the near future. PullQuote-digitalIncorporating digital technology should be done in such a way that it’s providing value and creating a seamless integration within your company. To appeal to the younger generation and show that construction is an industry of choice, we have to continue embracing the technology movement that has become part of our daily lives. We cannot be content to have a few innovative pieces of technological advances, but rather must incorporate technology into our companies, from how we design and build to how we connect to the office from the field and how we train on a daily basis. Construction does not mean merely digging ditches; it’s an industry of high skill and demand as well as one that we depend on for our standard of living. We must streamline technology within our processes and understand that, by doing so, we are providing value and becoming relevant in the eyes of the youth.   The full article was originally published May 8, 2018, on and can be read here.

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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.