Go Build Alabama (and now Go Build Georgia), along with Mike Rowe and mikeroweWORKS.com, is working to change the perception of the skilled trades. Getting the word out that a career in the trades is not an alternative career, it is a good career and one that can offer a good future and wage.
By Mary Reed – CEG Correspondent
Construction Equipment Guide.com
Alarm bells began to ring loudly seven years ago.
In 2005 the Construction Labor Research Council warned that with many workers in the industry of an age when they would retire in the next decade, unless more apprentices were brought into construction there would be a severe shortage in skilled trades such as carpenters, electricians, pipefitters and welders.
By 2007 the U.S. Department of Labor was forecasting a 1.5 million shortfall of construction workers by 2012. Although the recession that followed meant the industry lost jobs, the situation has improved to a point where Alabama is already seeing fewer craftspersons than are needed. This problem will be exacerbated as the economy recovers, particularly with potential growth in the state’s automobile manufacturing facilities, anticipated upgradings of infrastructure, and transportation and energy projects.
Given that the average age of craftspersons now working in construction is 47, and that currently for every four workers who retire or leave the industry only one enters it, the situation will become more urgent with each passing year.
A major factor in the shortage of apprentices in construction is the current strong focus on college degrees as a path to a successful career, leading to neglect of skilled trades as a viable and equally valuable career choice.
During his recent testimony to the Senate on the looming crisis, Mike Rowe, host of the popular TV series Dirty Jobs, noted that “American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions.
There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them. In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.”
Read the complete article and more at constructionequipmentguide.com – HERE