By: G. David Sload, President-CEO, ABC Keystone
One of the main focuses of ABC Keystone’s new three-year strategic plan is the continued expansion of our workforce development efforts. But first, we need to understand what ‘Workforce Development’ means. When I ask members for a definition, most say “getting people interested in our industry and then getting them employed.” Correct! However, that is just the first half of the concept. The second half is taking those that are already in the industry and continuing to develop them and grow their careers so we can retain them.
Let’s look at the first half of the issue – getting people into the industry. ABC Keystone will continue to work with middle and high schools to introduce young people to the many options our industry provides. As part of our new plan, the Keystone Chapter will continue to expand our pre-apprenticeship programs that serve both to introduce our industry and to provide some valuable certifications that can be used as an entry-level employee in our industry.
Additionally, we will expand our efforts to work with citizens returning to society following their incarceration. This will take support on the legislative side to remove and reduce barriers to employment, such as obtaining one’s driver’s license. The legislature appears ripe for these initiatives, as they are looking for ways to make sure one does not end up back in prison.
With both pre-apprenticeship and re-entry, we need you, the members, to take advantage of upcoming re-entry education seminars and be open to hiring these employees. While we know you are all looking for people with experience, they don’t exist in the unemployed world. The individuals that we are talking about will make good entry-level employees that are looking to make a career out of construction. If we do not succeed in placing this talent, these programs will fall flat and cease to exist.
The second half of workforce development is the need to continue to develop your existing team. I get calls all of the time from members telling me they have trouble retaining employees. In today’s world, it is not all about wages. While that is important, so are benefits and the mapping out of one’s career path. Remember, we are not selling jobs, we are selling careers. If you are only concerned with filling jobs, I can almost guarantee you will have retention problems down the road.
ABC Keystone is here to assist you in all aspects of Workforce Development. Jump on board and create a culture of Careers in Construction where each and every one of your employees can experience the American Dream.
Posted February 15, 2022