As Baby Boomers prepare to retire, it’s possible that more than half of the existing construction workforce will retire by 2012. What was initially a consideration kept in the back of one’s mind is now a major concern for the construction industry: Where can competent entry-level workers be found to fill the hole that will be left by retirees?
One answer can be found at Moraine Park Technical College. “The College has been listening to the concerns of area employers in the construction industry,” said Jon Waldhuetter, dean of apprenticeships. “To address their needs, Moraine Park’s Building Trades/Construction Worker technical diploma program is being offered this fall when the semester starts Aug. 25.” The program is designed to provide the construction skill set that graduates and employers need. Students will attend classes five days a week for two 16-week semesters. Part-time enrollment is available for those who are unable to commit to a full-time instructional schedule.
Building Trades/Construction Worker courses include Safety Applications, Building Trades Fundamentals, Framing Construction, Basic Welding, Basic AutoCAD, Exterior Finish, Interior Finish, Building Trades Mechanical Systems and others.
“This program provides a very broad range of trade experience, which is key,” said Waldhuetter. “It is strong in hands-on work activities and exposes students to a wide range of trade career options. Students who complete this program will be able to transition smoothly into construction-related careers.”
Even with the current slowdown in new home construction, projections by the Southeast Construction Contractors and Trades Council indicate a 43-percent growth in employment in the construction industry over the next decade. Presently only 40 to 60 percent of positions created by retirement are being filled and the job outlook for the construction industry is strong in all of the skilled trades with employment growth between 14 and 25 percent. Wage scales will remain high, ranging from $15 to $35 an hour for skilled workers, with an average annual wage of roughly $42,500. Moraine Park’s Building Trades/Construction Worker program opens the door to careers in the construction industry and continuing educational opportunities such as apprenticeship, supervision or specialized training.
Registrations are currently being accepted for this fall. To register for the Building Trades/Construction Worker program or for more information, call a Moraine Park admissions specialist at 1-800-472-4554 or call Waldhuetter at 262-335-5841.