The construction industry continues to serve as one of the largest employers in the United States, with a projected sector employment growth rate of 2.6% annually through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor¹. It’s an industry that will require a larger and more sophisticated workforce. Predictions are that the numbers of women and minorities in the skilled trades will rise dramatically as the current workforce retires. And, concurrently, 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 improves in Wisconsin, we remain focused on addressing workforce challenges and opportunities to grow the industry and our local 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
Founded in 2011, the Foundations for the Trades Academy is an apprenticeship preparation program designed to help participants prepare for a career in 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 news skills into practice during a hands-on experience. Upon program completion, participants can pursue an apprenticeship or employment in the field.
Participants engage in seven weeks of training in blueprint reading, using hand and power tools, construction math and measuring, trades safety, apprenticeship exam prep and employability skills. In addition, participants can earn certifications in CPR and OSHA Safety and complete 4 of 6 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.
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.