In an appearance before the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week, Jason Phelps described the nearcrisis situation concerning replacement of the current workforce in the building/construction trades in the state. Phelps is executive director of the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute (ACRI), a trade organization of the state’s builders and contractors.
Sample statistics: (1) For every four workers leaving the construction trades annually, only one replacement is supplied by incoming workers; (2) the average age of workers on the job is 47; (3) the industry is expected to grow at a nearly 20 percent rate over the next three years; (4) the median wage for construction tradesmen is more than $30 an hour.
Yet many young adults preparing for a career opt to attend college – both those suited for college and those not-so-well suited. Many emerge with as much as 10 years’worth of student debt to repay.
The ACRI is attempting to address the need by funding the Go Build Alabama advertising campaign, using TV ads with nationally-recognized spokesman Mike Rowe, and more recently with a series of TV spots featuring young Alabamians who have elected to pursue a trade. One such spot features a young Blount Countian who is learning his trade as a steel worker.
For trades info, register on the website
The bottom line of Phelps’s message was to create an interest in a construction trade career among the state’s youth and get them to respond by registering their interest on the Go Build Alabama website. A concrete way for parents to help is by encouraging their children to investigate the site, or by actually registering themselves on behalf of their children searching for a career interest and path.
The site provides defining information about many construction trades. It also provides a mechanism for prospects to request further information about training and apprenticeship opportunities in their area by registering on the website. The ACRI staff will respond with a packet of information about training/apprenticeship opportunities in their area.
The Go Build Alabama campaign will be represented extensively at job fairs and career training events around the state. The office itself does not do direct job placement, but is available for further referrals at 334-832-7300.