Apprenticeship Program Helps Firm Address Labor Shortage By: Brett Brenize, PE Gannett Fleming The shortage of skilled labor in the construction management industry is no secret. We have been reading about it and feeling its effect on our day-to-day work for some time now. Infrastructure projects are flourishing all around us – new public transit systems, new toll roads, rehabilitation of existing bridges, and water and wastewater system upgrades – yet owners and construction management firms often do not have adequate bench strength to staff these projects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of construction managers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.” And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that the workforce shortage causes major challenges for our industry, concluding that this issue results in missed deadlines, increased costs, and even the loss of new projects.
technical skills… yet. It is a model that can be adapted to firms of any size to help address the workforce shortage. Apprentices start as full-time employees with benefits and undergo a series of comprehensive training programs tailored to their projects, including state or federally mandated training. They also work toward the Construction Managerin-Training (CMIT) certification from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). Safety training and construction site awareness instruction are a critical and paramount part of the apprentice curriculum.
| Advisor Summer 2019
The problem can seem insurmountable – how can any one of us solve the industry-wide issues of a skills gap and a labor shortage? To start, at Gannett Fleming our Construction Services Business Line collaborates with our talent acquisition team In 2016, Gannett Fleming’s Construction Services to optimize recruiting efforts and we work team launched the apprenticeship program as a direct diligently to maintain a corporate culture that focuses on employees. response to the construction industry’s labor shortage.
But there are entire segments of the population we are not reaching through these efforts. That is why, nearly three years ago, we added an apprenticeship program to our recruitment toolbox, and we have welcomed more than 25 new employees into the program and the construction industry. In 2016, Gannett Fleming’s Construction Services team launched the apprenticeship program as a direct response to the construction industry’s labor shortage. The idea was to bring in motivated and energetic employees who fit our corporate culture but did not have construction-oriented
Recruiting motivated apprentices and providing appropriate training are just two ingredients in the recipe for success. The other is an experienced mentor. Our leadership team takes a great deal of time to select the right mentor for each apprentice. Mentors are expected to provide onthe-job training and advice, of course, but they also build a trusting relationship so that the mentee can remain supported throughout their career. The philosophy of the apprentice program is that the apprentice and mentor form a long-lasting professional bond.
Published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)