What a year we have had. Not only did we get back to business as usual, but we set new milestones and welcomed new friends from the northern part of our State. We hit 92% retainage for the second year in a row, and we hit membership growth in July for the first time. One of the exciting parts of the year was the merger of Keystone and Central regions. We now cover 33 counties in PA. We were able to welcome new businesses into the Keystone family and show the benefits of membership. It was exciting to go to the Nittany Valley region and get to know many of the members, meet some great people and get to know their businesses. There are several new business partners for all of us to get to know and work with.
Having been a member since 1989, ABC Keystone has time and again demonstrated that our dues are not just an overhead charge, but an investment in the construction industry. Over the years, I have spent hours at ABC Keystone education events, monthly meetings and political events. ABC has always looked to educating its members not only on construction topics, but also other skills such as management and HR training and has kept us abreast of political activities that impact our businesses.
I’ve been in the workforce long-enough to see different careers become hot and then cool off. When I was coming out of school, the big career was nursing. The employers were offering signing bonuses, and people coming out of school had their choice of places they wanted to work. Construction has had its employment issues for longer than any other profession I can remember. Guidance counselors pushed everyone to college, and no one was talking about careers in the trades, which is a shame because of the things you learn from working in construction. You learn to think on your feet, adapt to changing circumstances, and discover how to solve problems that seem insurmountable.
August was a fun month! It was great to see everyone in Wrightsville at ABC Keystone’s Summer Outdoor Mixer presented by Saxton & Stump Lawyers and Consultants and to see many of you in Belfonte at the Keystone Chapter’s Nittany Valley Mixer. Mixers like these are events I look forward to each year to have a good time and catch up with so many of our ABC members. It was especially valuable this year to build connections with our members from our new Nittany Valley Region.
Politics continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it is about gun violence vs. the 2nd amendment, abortion rights vs. the rights of the unborn, inflation, or unemployment rates. All these issues will impact each of us personally and the businesses we own.
Who is tired of hearing “elections have consequences?” I know I am, but after spending several days in Washington D.C. at the ABC National Legislative Conference, I get it. ABC National has been tracking several issues and waiting for some of the rules from the current administration to determine the next course of action. Several of these steps include preparing to file suit. The list of items from this administration that ABC opposes is extensive, and I suggest you visit the ABC website to review the list in detail. There are two items that I would like to highlight as they are of great importance to ABC members.
It’s time to celebrate! How great it is to see individuals work hard, complete their training, and move on to the next stage of their lives. High school students are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives after school. College grads are looking for their first job and dealing with the student debt they have amassed. And, craft professionals have completed their education and are moving into their careers fully trained.
It’s that time of year again. Almost as exciting as the holidays. It’s STEP season. Okay, I can hear the groans and the eye rolls, and it reminds me of my wife or our girls as they respond to one of my comments. But it truly is an exciting time for ABC with the approaching STEP application deadline of July 1 for recognition at the Safety Recognition Breakfast on August 16. STEP is an extremely important time for us, and the data that is collected helps us to accomplish two of our missions: protecting employee total human health and advocating for your businesses.
This month we want to focus on Workforce Development. The Workforce Development Committee is tasked with showcasing careers in construction and the talents of our members. They are to build bridges between the industry and educators on skills needed and careers available for K-12 and post-secondary students. The committee and staff liaison have been hard at work for many years building those bridges.
The pandemic has changed how people view their personal and professional lives. A description used to describe our current time is “The Great Resignation.” People are changing careers, where they live, and some are even deciding to retire early.
One of the things I hear from ABC Keystone members is, “What is ABC National doing about the Federal mandates?” I’d like to share a timeline and updates from our National organization.
With the start of a new year, there is always excitement over the goals and initiatives we set out to accomplish. Likewise, there are many exciting initiatives that we are working on at ABC Keystone for the upcoming year.
First, we look to establish the Inclusion, Diversity and Unity committee. Unfortunately, the construction industry has an image problem. For too long, it has been considered a white male profession. While attending the 2021 ABC Leadership Institute, we saw how other chapters are making significant inroads with the minority, women, Veterans and LGBT communities. As we look at an aging workforce, the answer must be attracting new talent to this industry. ABC Keystone and all ABC chapters should tell the story that construction is a great industry in which to work, you can make a good living, and it is an industry for all.