The construction industry continues to serve as one of the largest employers in the U.S. with a projected sector employment growth rate of 11% from 2018 to 2028¹. It’s an industry that will require a larger and more sophisticated workforce. Predictions are that the number of women and minorities in the skilled trades will rise dramatically as the current workforce retires. And, one of construction’s greatest challenges will be competing with other industries for a limited supply of qualified workers.

Building the Region’s Talent for Industry Growth

As the construction industry grows in Wisconsin, we’re focused on addressing workforce challenges and opportunities for workers and the economy. We’re investing in workforce development efforts and partnerships with industry leaders and agencies to build a skilled workforce pipeline to cover new work and a retiring workforce.

Our Work in Action

Students studying blueprintsFoundations for the Trades Academy

Founded in 2011, the Foundations for the Trades Academy is an apprenticeship preparation program designed to help participants enter the construction and utilities industry. During the academy’s seven-week training program, participants focus on learning important industry skills and concepts and put their new skills into practice with hands-on experiences. Upon program completion, participants can pursue an apprenticeship or employment in the field.

The seven weeks of training consists of blueprint reading, using hand and power tools, construction math and measuring, trades safety, apprenticeship exam preparation, and employability skills building. In addition, participants can earn certifications in CPR and OSHA Safety and complete four of six Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Training (PACT) modules (an industry-recognized credential). Instructors provide coaching to help the participants market their skills on a resume, perform job searches and communicate their new skills to employers during interviews. The program is offered in partnership with the Construction Employment Initiative.

Ironworkers Fact Sheet

Trade Up

First launched in 2013, the Trade Up campaign featured construction career pathways and apprenticeship information for high school students, parents and educators. The project was designed to introduce and encourage young workers to consider the trades as a viable and rewarding career pathway. The campaign showcased different construction professions that offer high-growth, high-wage careers in South Central Wisconsin.

The campaign is a prime example of how we convene industry representatives, education and workforce development partners to discuss solutions to pressing workforce issues–in this case, workforce pipeline development in the construction industry.

Source: ¹U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Handbook, September 2019