- Colorado construction industry groups have joined forces with the state to train new construction workers in an effort to fill an anticipated 30,000-job demand in the next seven years, The Denver Post reported.
- The free, month-long training, which will include blueprint reading, math and other construction basics, is funded by local construction industry groups plus a $1.1 million state grant to Denver's Emily Griffith Technical College.
- Colorado construction positions have increased by 7% (10,500 workers) in the last year, the Associated General Contractors of Colorado said, but that pace is not enough to keep up with Colorado's current building boom.
Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne told The Post that a robust workforce was vital in attracting businesses to the state. In fact, the money that is going to this latest initiative is part of the state's $10 million Work Act, established to help fund two-year, technical and apprenticeship programs. The program is intended to make up for, in part, a 30-year wind-down of school career and technical training programs.
In June, a National Association of Home Builders survey found that single-family builders are finding a more limited pool of skilled workers than they were just a year ago, including those in the most essential trades like carpentry, framing and bricklaying. The NAHB and Associated General Contractors of America have consistently reported labor shortages, for commercial and residential sectors, will only become more pronounced. The AGC continues to promote career training at the junior high and high school levels as a way to fill future labor shortages due to increased construction activity nationwide and a retiring workforce. The AGC's Workforce Development Plan outlines the organization's suggested labor initiatives, and it has also created an online career center to help employers find qualified employees.
But it's obvious that more investment in construction career training is needed to meet future demand. In January, Sean Lynch, legislative and public affairs manager for the Association for Career & Technical Education told Construction Dive that businesses and industries are showing increased interest in career and technical training and recognize it as a way to fill their labor needs. Still, Lynch said, more federal funding is necessary to develop robust programs. "There’s a growing interest among parents and business leaders and everybody else," he said, "and CTE programs are being asked to do more with less, and that’s a real challenge for them."