CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2018

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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Page 28 of 116

28 JANUARY 2018 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Contractor's Corner Women make up just 9.1 percent of the construction industr y in the United States. "Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much big ger than ourselves." ~Adrienne Clarkson T he construction of a building involves the coordination of many trades with specialized skills, working in unison to create something grander than they could do alone. e industry is dependent on a steady flow of capable people willing to work hard, a process for skills training and the transfer of knowledge, and an openness to accept and adopt change. But what happens if you are missing any one of these important pieces? We have all read the headlines and seen the statistics about the skilled labor gaps in the United States: • The average college graduate of the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from the year before. However, even with advanced degrees in hand, many college gradu- ates are unemployed because they lack the skills needed to fill the avail- able jobs. • The U.S. Department of Labor reports that job opportunities in the construction trades will grow as much as 14 percent by 2024. • Staffing companies are reporting that retirements will lead to 31 million vacant skilled trade positions by 2020. • Women make up just 9.1 percent of the construction industry in the United States. With all of this data staring us in the face, what are we to do? Are we missing a huge opportunity to redirect the dialogue? Mentor programs are not new to the construction industry, but it seems like we could be a bit more focused in how we look toward the next genera- tions to help fill some of the gaps. In the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, for example, we sought to change the shortage trajectory by developing a construction camp for girls to intro- duce them to the world of construction. Here's how we accomplished our goals along with a few tips on how you may look into starting a similar program near you. Who's Involved? We wanted to get high school-aged girls interested in construction to start filling the skills gap and promoting the importance of mentoring within the industry. We knew our target audience, but we couldn't do it alone. A collaborative partnership between the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) — Eastern PA Chapter, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of Construction Specifiers Institute (CSI), and the Lehigh Valley Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Mentor Program was formed. "Let's Build!" was born. To locate prospective campers, the local vocational schools were called upon to participate on the team. e three main vocational schools helped guide the curriculum and provided a direct link to the local school districts and students. Excited to help, Let's Build! became a recruiting tool for these schools to encourage the young Photos courtesy of Corrosion Technology Systems, Inc. By Jon C. Lattin, CSI, CCPR, Sales Manager for Corrosion Technolog y Systems, Inc. Sharing Your Knowledge Through Mentorships

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