SOLVING THE SKILLS GAP
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The Skills Gap – the lack of available skilled labor – is a real problem for every construction business in the United States. There simply aren’t enough people pursuing a career in the trades and obtaining the necessary skills needed to fill the vacancies created by the recession and an aging workforce.
The construction industry not only suffers from the physical gap created by the lack of people entering the trades but also a cultural gap has been growing because of the way in which society views the trades.
We (professionals in the trades) can solve this problem if we do this one thing:
IGNITE A REVIVAL IN THE TRADES
I recently gave the keynote addresses at the Certainteed Business Building Workshops in Atlantic City, NJ and Washington D.C.
In these keynotes I had the honor of representing Fine Homebuilding and informing the audiences about the Keep Craft Alive movement and how Fine Homebuilding was working to do their part in solving the skills gap.
SOLVING THE SKILLS GAP
Fine Homebuilding is working on implementing a 3-part solution to solve the skills gap in the United States.
STEP ONE – IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
The Skills Gap is growing wide (physical gap) because the number of people that have left (recession) or are leaving (retirement) are greater than the number of people entering the workforce.
The Skills Gap is also growing deeper (cultural gap) because younger generations are not being encourage to pursue a career in the trades. Society looks down on the trades as a lucrative and worthwhile career path.
The physical gap is a numbers game. It’s simply math. There aren’t enough people entering the skill trades to balance the number of people leaving or that have left the industry.
The physical gap is amplified by the cultural gap. Society looks down on the trades and younger generations aren’t being encouraged to pursue a career in the trades.
During the keynotes I dispelled some common myths that surround what society views as the path to a “good job” and the realities of what a “good job” is today.
STEP TWO – INFORM THE PUBLIC
Informing the public of the investment required to pursue a college degree or a trade school certification is one way to change the way society views the trades.
Fine Homebuilding has partnered with Certainteed to provide scholarships to SkillsUSA for students pursuing a career in construction related fields.
It is Fine Homebuilding’s hope that informing the public of the investment required and the educational opportunities available through organizations like SkillsUSA and other trade schools will open new opportunities for high school and college-aged students to pursue career training in the trades.
STEP THREE – INSPIRE OTHERS
The final step in solving the Skills Gap problem is to inspire others to pursue a career in the trades. This can be accomplished only if existing construction professionals create opportunities for advancement within their businesses for a younger generation of workers.
CALL TO ACTION
When people know where they’re going and how to get there then they’re going to feel accomplished along the way. They’ll take that sense of accomplishment home with them and that will inspire hope in their communities and in their families.
“What can I do?”
You can provide hope because hope is contagious.
You are the spark. Whether you’re the owner, the manager or the employee, the way in which you perform your job and put your craft on display for the world to see, that is the fuel that will ignite a revival in the trades.
Igniting a revival in the trades is the solution to the skills gap.
And I encourage you to do your part in this movement to #KeepCraftAlive.
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Shawn Van Dyke is a construction industry consultant, business coach, and mentor to skilled trade business owners. He is a Brand Ambassador for Fine Homebuilding, travels across the US as a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, and the author of The Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline Your Construction Business.
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