Are you paying attention? October 11th, 2015—New NTCA program
“ More than 80% of construction companies are having a hard time finding qualified workers, according to a survey of 1,386 companies by Associated General Contractors of America”.
That’s quite a chilling opening statement from a September article of the Washington Bureau of The Business Journals. It is reflecting what some are calling a “skills gap”, in which those seeking to fill jobs cannot do so with those currently looking for employment. This has created a mismatch and therefore a “gap” between the two. Rather than easing, this gap does not appear to be going away in the near future. Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder says “There is a growing disconnect between the skills employers need and the skills that are being cultivated in the labor market today”.
While his firm covers many types of industries, the tile installation industry is no different.
Stephen Sandherr, CEO of AGC says “Half of construction companies executives surveyed said their local pipeline for construction workers is below average or poor.” That kind of indictment is pretty severe and can hold severe ramifications in our industry as well. The lack of available talent can be costly for all concerned. It can, and most likely will, lead to positions left unfilled resulting in declines in customer service, work quality, workforce morale and revenues. One of our local business owners stated that “this phenomenon has safety, quality and productivity ramifications” as well. If you couple this news with the fact that in 2013, “ 40 percent of the construction workforce was 45 years of age or older”…meaning that “3.7 million construction workers will approach retirement in the next 10 years” the prospect for the future of our labor force looks bleak.
Your NTCA has recognized this as well. The staff, Executive Committee and the Board of Directors has taken on the task of finding solutions to this burgeoning problem for the tile industry. In addition to recent successful and continued efforts to promote qualified labor to the construction industry, your association is now moving headlong into creating apprenticeship programs designed to tackle this issue. Our newest staff member and new training and education coordinator Becky Serbin, is hard at work helping to develop the Apprenticeship On-Line Program and our Learning Management System. Her work, along with the tireless efforts of our Chairman Dan Welch, is producing a product and tool to assist in alleviating this problem. Concerted efforts are currently being made to offer tools that provide those just entering the labor force a viable training mechanism and evaluation device for their future career paths.
The CEO of Jobs For the Future, Marlene Setzer, points out that “job seekers and workers would benefit from a renewed focus on skills development, training and education.:” We couldn’t agree more. Local construction executives here recently pleaded with the construction industry to “find ways to encourage more young workers to join our world and train in the construction trades.” We are doing just that and once again, leading the way in the tile industry as we address pressing needs.
To learn more about this effort, contact the NTCA office or, better yet, come the Total Solutions Plus in Savannah, Georgia this month to talk directly to those involved in this process. You’re sure to benefit if you do.