The construction industry is facing current and future labor challenges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that over 800,000 new personnel will be needed to fill construction positions nationwide, through 2028. Fifty thousand will be needed in Colorado alone, according to AGC Colorado. The leadership at Longmont-based Golden Triangle Construction (GTC) decided they could do something to help avert this crisis.
“We’ve always done outreach,” said Todd Schroeder, GTC president. “Our superintendents have gone into classrooms from K-12 through higher education, when we were doing projects for that school. We’ve regularly attended college career fairs and had summer interns. But what we’re doing now is different. We’re identifying with the industry’s concern of lack of manpower, and we’re seriously looking at getting the next generation into construction.”
To do that, in the summer of 2019 the firm’s leadership created a Director of Outreach position and appointed Amy Powell, a GTC project manager-turned-director of training.
“We were fortunate to already have someone on staff who was so enthusiastic about this,” Schroeder said. “Amy has helped us enhance our existing program and take it to the next level.”
Powell has a list of industry credentials a mile-high, including her YouTube channel, “The Girl in the Hard Hat.” She runs GTC’s internal training program and is pursuing a construction-related masters. When she applied her passion to the Outreach Program, it reached more than 450 people in the first six months. This was largely due to Powell’s huge effort to target high schools.
“Doing high school outreach is what really kicked off [the next level] for us,” Schroeder said. “There’s been a huge uptick in interest at the high school level in non-college options for them, post-graduation. They want jobs that pay well, without having to take on the burden of student loan debt.”
So far, GTC has presented and/or done panels at Greeley West High School, Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Jeffco’s Arvada and Green Mountain high schools, and Adams 12 Five Star’s Bollman Tech and Mountain Range High School. Part of the presentations include explaining different construction career paths, both for those who choose not to go to college, and for those who do. For the college-bound, GTC has also successfully partnered with local higher ed schools.
“GTC’s involvement has significantly increased our capacity to support and retain our current CM students and to recruit diverse populations of prospective CM students,” said Molly Weisshaar, academic success coordinator at CSU’s Department of Construction Management. “The partnership between GTC and Aims has benefited our Construction Management students and program in many ways,” Phong Tram, program coordinator and academic success coach for Aims’s Construction and Engineering Technology Department, said.
“We’ve gotten a lot more GTC employees engaged in teaching classes at the high school and college levels,” Schroeder said. “Not including Powell, at least fifteen employees from both office and field positions have helped with the Outreach Program. “This has generated a lot of employee pride, because our employees love what they do, and they want to teach the next generation.”
GTC has plans to expand their outreach efforts even more. “We’ll see where this goes,” Schroeder said, “But we’re going to continue to enhance the program. We’re going to look at where we will make the most impact.”
For more information on GTC’s Outreach program, please contact Amy Powell, director of Training and Outreach at 720-340-6832 or firstname.lastname@example.org.