Construction Employment & The Skills Gap

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were 6.71M people employed in the Construction Industry in 2016. According to ACS estimates: The number of people employed in the Construction Industry has been growing at a rate of 4.71% (from 8.43M people in 2016 to 8.82M people in 2017).

“Employment of construction laborers and helpers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Laborers and helpers work in all fields of construction, and demand for these workers should mirror the level of overall construction activity.”

The construction industry has been facing labor shortages caused by the skills gap for a long while. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that some employees have been logging 50-60 hour, or more, workweeks to make up for a dwindling workforce. In search of more sustainable and effective solutions, employers in construction and other worker-hungry industries have looked within and outside of their industry. Many employers have created apprenticeships to attract and train young employees. The U.S. Department of Labor has published a toolkit to assist employers in such an endeavor. Schools, meanwhile, are fast-tracking some programs, getting workers out in the field with the promise of a degree later down the road.

New York City has a similar, and more intense, problem in its own construction industry. We experience these problems in a more concentrated and affecting way, given the rate of growth we are experiencing and the dearth of trained and job-ready potential employees available to fill job vacancies.

Exacerbating this problem is the fact that any successful employee must be properly trained to do the job they are hired to do from the moment they are hired. Onboarding untrained employees creates significant safety issues and causes other problems that can affect how well crews work on a build.

There may be many people who are willing to work in the construction industry, but if they do not have the appropriate training they cannot do the job. Most construction companies do not have the time or the resources to do on-the-job training, and doing so is a distraction from their main purpose - building.

As pressure to complete projects on time and budget bumps up against the shortage of trained and work-ready labor, construction firms rely more on entities that educate and train their future employees.

They also have to take a chance on potential employees that they may not have considered before - former homeless, military veterans and other undeserved people in society. Taking a chance on an individual who has expressed interest in a construction career, and who has also done the work over the long term to prove they are employable, is one important way that construction firms can fill the employment gap that is creating a slowdown to the growth they have been waiting for since the Great Recession.

Companies like CMC Workforce and Mike Rowe Works are working to help fill those construction jobs by both finding undeserved populations who are interested in a construction career and providing them with the training and education to do the job NOW.

Prospective trainees are not just rushed through a process to get them out on the job site as soon as possible. Prospective job fillers are fully vetted, educated and trained in myriad aspects of working in the NYC construction industry. From safety training to reading blueprints and learning to safely run equipment and power tools; trainees are prepared for all aspects of their possible career choice and are ready to work. CMC Workforce helps bridge the gap between a need in the construction industry and the problem of employing marginalized communities by teaching the dignity of work. Through systematized education based training paired with on the job training, we help fill the skilled labor needs of construction firms.

Not every job, regardless of the level of pay, is dignified. Not every job affords a worker what a job should afford them: the ability to live a full life, the pride in realizing your personal contribution and the chance to advance both monetarily and in your field. Our programs teach a dignified trade that provides individuals with the opportunity to learn a real skill and work in a profession that shows them, every day, the fruits of their labor. Solid proof that the effort they’ve expended has resulted in something real that they can see and touch.

CMC gives marginalized communities the chance to become contributing members of society, taxpayers and give them more reasons to not only improve their own living conditions; but to improve their surrounding communities, as well. CMC helps to bridge and fill the employment gap that the construction industry is experiencing: a gap that slows productivity and project completion. CMC Workforce allows the greater community to target their support in a focused way that has quantifiably improved communities both large and small. Support for CMC Workforce gives individuals a way to break out of a cycle of dependence and indignity, to enter into a career that lends them financial security, stability and pride in their work.

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