Construction Workforce Development Remains Vital to Colorado’s Growth
DENVER — Workforce development programs such as Construction Careers Now (CCN) remain vital to Colorado’s growth. As noted by the Colorado Department of Labor, one of the most important economic issues Colorado faces is the critical labor shortage of skilled craftsmen and women in industries that are critical to Colorado’s future growth, including the construction trades.
Colorado is still ranked in the top ten in the nation for growth of construction jobs, having added 11,400 construction jobs from February 2017 – February 2018, per reports from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). AGC officials are noted as saying that “…the widespread job gains show that construction offers good career opportunities and that public agencies at all levels of government should do more to improve the career and technical education pipeline.”
CCN has benefited from the State’s support of workforce development through funding received from the WORK Act Grant. The funding has currently allowed for 15 class sessions since September 2016, where there is no-cost for participants to join the four-week pre-apprenticeship program. CCN has proved beneficial to both the construction industry and the State as a whole, with 62 percent of the 701 CCN graduates – 433 people now working in a career in construction since September 2016 through March 2018. Despite these numbers, workforce development in construction remains a critical initiative for Colorado construction firms.
“In speaking with our membership of over 550 contractors, the number one concern they still face is the labor shortage. This lack of workers available has a trickle-down effect that can set back construction schedules and force projects to come in over-budget,” commented Michael Gifford, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Colorado.
With construction projects like the $2.35 billion Central 70 Project Expansion to the $1.5 billion gate and concourse expansion at the Denver International Airport on the horizon, Colorado still needs thousands of new people to enter into a construction career and be trained in the skilled trades. Programs like CCN help support the market conditions for continued growth in Colorado but cannot remain sustainable without reinforcement from the construction industry.
The best way for construction firms to support CCN and build their future workforce is by attending the monthly hiring fairs, where the proceeds are used to offset the costs of training the participants. All construction companies are welcome to attend. The next hiring fair is taking place on April 11, 2018 at the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Career Training and Resource Center located in the I-70 Corridor, CCN’s training location. “Companies in Colorado who are investing in CCN not only gain new employees and help meet their workforce development needs, but they are also learning about current industry needs, and how to improve their company culture and their training programs, “ commented Scott Van Deren, Business Development Leader at Drake Williams Steel, who has hired a number of CCN graduates.
Photo courtesy of Construction Careers Now