SEAA and member companies are taking an active role in skilled trades recruitment through a variety of initiatives that bring together organizations and industries that align with structural steel construction.
“Each of our organizations faces the same struggles with having enough quality skilled workers in the pipeline to fill job production requirements for the industry we serve,” said Underhill. “By coming together, we can share best practices and hopefully reduce duplication of effort when it comes to marketing and recruiting for the skilled trades.”
In the future, the Skilled Trades Coalition will explore attracting workforce talent and managing the perception of the skilled trades. The group plans to hold two meetings in 2019.
In November SEAA was invited by Bill Issler, former President and Owner of FabSuite LLC, to a meeting to explore ways to empower and excite individuals about careers in the structural steel supply chain. Issler has formed IndustryLift, a foundation dedicated to providing a platform to attract a new generation of workers through technology, education, and supply chain coordination.
Like the Skilled Trades Coalition, IndustryLift wants to increase cooperation with like-minded organizations. IndustryLift will exhibit at NASCC The Steel Conference, April 3-5, 2019 in St. Louis, Mo., and will offer Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality demonstrations, as well as videos showing the various aspects of the structural steel industry.
Meanwhile, SEAA member Superior Cranes Inc., held a community outreach event for students at its Rockingham, N.C. headquarters. Lift & Move USA is a workforce development outreach initiative founded by the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, SC&R Foundation, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, and KHL, publisher of American Cranes & Transport magazine. The initiative showcases careers in specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations.
“There is real interest by teachers to help young people understand the career path into our industry. Teachers were pleased that the message they work so tirelessly to promote was validated through the interactive stations and real-life skills demonstrated by our employees,” said Schleicher.
“Structural steel construction is a niche business. Recruiting ironworkers, welders, riggers, crane operators, fabricators, details, etc., is all critical to the future of the construction industry and structural steel erection, specifically,” said Underhill. “Increasing the number of qualified workers will come from managing our image, educating parents and counselors, explaining the various career paths, and creating curriculum to train people,” he said.
A number of years ago, SEAA partnered with NCCER to develop ironworker craft training curriculum and launched an effort to establish craft training and assessment sites among its members across the country. Participating members have access to three levels of ironworker training, plus additional NCCER curriculum in more than 70 subject areas.