The pandemic has caused accelerated attrition rates for experience and talent across a variety of industries. Whether due to safety restrictions, health risks, or simply workers discovering they can make do with less, we are facing a serious shortage of labor far ahead of the time we expected. The education system in this country has been slow to react to the needs for skilled trade labor. It is like a large ship trying to make a U-turn. However, over the past few years and with pressure from industry and both sides of the political aisle, things have begun to change. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, our parent organization, has trained and produced high-quality craftspeople for more than 100 years, and we continue to do so. Our system of apprenticeship is designed to take three to four years or longer in some programs, and while graduates of these programs excel in the field, the need for skilled labor is NOW – not four years down the road.
The staff of the SSMRC and its locals are constantly recruiting and training to meet labor needs, but we need the help of our industry partners as well. Through our relationships with community colleges, vocational schools, high schools, and other educational outlets, we are building a pipeline of quality candidates to enter our program at an advanced level due to their previous work experience and training. These candidates can advance to journey level at an accelerated pace. Where we need your help, as an industry partner, is with involvement in local or state manufacturing associations, trade groups, and educational outlets like school boards, community colleges, and even universities. Your input and influence will help push these institutions to utilize resources to train students in skilled construction trades so that we can continue to build a workforce that meets the demand of today’s market.
I ask that you make a commitment to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you by SSMRC representatives to attend functions, meetings, or events along with us, to help push this agenda. I also ask that if you know of a way the SSMRC can assist in making progress in recruiting or accelerated training, please let us know so that we can capitalize on it. The only way to overcome the challenges of the next few years and beyond is through a concerted team effort between labor and management. We need everyone on board.