The American Skilled Trade Workforce Shortage
A 2016-17 Talent Shortage Survey by Manpower cites that skilled trade jobs – including electricians, carpenters, welders, plasterers and other people you need to keep your building maintained – are the hardest to fill.
To address that, President Trump recently signed an executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
President Trump signed an executive order establishing
the National Council for the American Worker | Photo: JStone
The council was formed to tackle the skills workforce crisis in the U.S. and give American workers training to fill skilled trade jobs.
The purpose of the executive order is to “foster an environment of lifelong learning and skills-based training, and cultivate a demand-driven approach to workforce development.”
Among the initial tasks of the council are to:
- Develop a national campaign to raise awareness of matters considered by the council. This includes the nature of many careers in the trades and manufacturing, as well as the need for companies to invest in training and re-training their workers; also more clearly define the skills and competencies jobs require.
- Design a plan for recognizing companies that demonstrate excellence in workplace education, training and re‑training policies; and investments to galvanize industries to identify and adopt best practices, innovate their workplace policies and invest in their workforces.
- Examine how Congress and the executive branch can work with other groups to:
- Create and increase the use of industry‑recognized, portable credentials by experienced workers seeking further education; displaced workers seeking skills to secure new jobs; students enrolled in postsecondary education; and younger Americans who are exploring career and education options before entering the workforce.
- Increase apprenticeship, earn-and-learn and work-based learning opportunities.
- Expand the use of online learning resources.
- Increase the number of partnerships around the country between companies, local educational institutions and other entities to understand the types of skills that are required by employers.
- Examine public and private-sector expenditures, including tax expenditures, related to providing Americans with knowledge and skills that will enable them to succeed in the workplace at various stages of life (such as during primary and secondary education, postsecondary education, continuing professional development and re-training); consider the effectiveness of those expenditures, and make suggestions for reforms in order to serve American workers and students better.
National trade organizations attended the National Council for the American Worker. Among them was the Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, who pledged it would provide at least 50,000 people with high-quality career training opportunities over the next five years. This will be done through the joint labor-management training programs that alliance members help to fund with their union partners.
Electricians are one of the professions where positions are hard to fill. | Photo: backimage
“We appreciate the priority that the President and Secretary of Labor [Alexander] Acosta are placing on expanding the benefits of privately-funded, high-quality apprenticeship programs and skills training beyond the unionized construction industry,” Matt Townsend, alliance president, said in a statement. “These efforts are critical to ensuring America has the workforce it needs and that our young people and veterans have the opportunities they deserve.”
Solutions to Fill Property & Facilities Management Roles
Educational facilities and groups are developing plans to fill facilities management and property management roles as today’s leaders retire.
Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis is launching a two-year degree in Applied Science in Facilities Operations and Management in the fall semester 2018, to address the need for skilled work in the field. Upon graduation, students will be trained for the workforce in facilities operations and management roles, such as operations manager, building services supervisor and assistant property manager.
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Classes will take place in the evening so professionals already working in the field can get training to move into operations and management roles.
“We aim to graduate professionals who have both the technical and the soft skills required to succeed in today’s facilities management environments,” Senior Instructor Derek Hillestad says. “Maintenance is still a crucial part of the job, but what most people probably don’t realize is that facilities management professionals are often tasked with asset management, space management, and/or building safety and security.”
Related: 4 Biggest Building Maintenance Challenges and Solutions
Students will get that experience hands-on, with the Dunwoody campus – featuring a mix of old and modern facilities – as their learning laboratory.
At the recent BOMA International annual show, BOMA/San Francisco’s Careers Committee discussed how it successfully attracted 23 new graduates to the property management workforce in 18 months. The committee achieved its results through a three-stage approach of working with students by:
- Exploring where to find students
- Connecting students to what a career in property management looks like
- Achieving relationships and opportunities
“How are we going to fill all that lost talent in the next 5-10 years?” asks Anne Hill, real estate portfolio manager at Bently Enterprises. “We can no longer depend on our traditional hiring approaches.”
Valerie Dennis Craven firstname.lastname@example.org is editor-in-chief at BUILDINGS.
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