If the current downturn in construction has led you to believe a career in the construction industry may not be the best choice, you may want to rethink your decision, according to Jon Waldhuetter, dean of apprenticeship at Moraine Park Technical College.
“Construction industry experts are predicting a gradual turnaround in the economy in the latter part of 2009 and early 2010,” said Waldhuetter. “As the construction industry begins to fire up again, the need for an experienced workforce is going to be there.”
And down the road, jobs will become available as Baby Boomers retire in the next 10 to 15 years; they presently account for more than 60 percent of today’s construction workforce. The Construction Industry Institute (CII) reported in October 2008 that “the number of qualified construction workers will be insufficient to replenish the aging workforce that has begun to retire.”
In addition, Waldhuetter said the Construction Labor Research Council estimates that each year for the next decade, the construction industry will need to hire 95,000 replacement workers and another 90,000 new workers nationwide.
Another concern related to the retirement of the Baby Boomers is reflected in the amount of knowledge and experience they will take with them when they leave the workforce. As reported by the CII, construction organizations “have a great deal of experienced individuals who are over 55 years old.” These experienced workers will be replaced with a workforce that will be 35 years old and younger.
To prepare for this workforce deficiency, as work begins to gear up employers will look for knowledge and experience. That makes now the ideal time for individuals with an interest in construction careers to get the necessary experience, education and training today so they will be employable tomorrow.
“The perfect time to investigate a construction career is now while times are slower,” said Waldhuetter. “There are countless career options. Individuals can seek information from technical colleges, labor organizations and employers. Learn about the variety of occupations within the field, and consider taking classes that provide theory, knowledge and experience.”
Moraine Park offers two one-year technical diploma programs that are designed specifically to prepare workers for careers in the construction industry. The Building Trades Construction Worker program not only teaches construction theory, but also exposes students to carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, welding, CAD and safety. “Hands-on experience is paramount in the instruction provided,” said Waldhuetter.
Focused on the construction electrical career, the one-year Electricity technical diploma also takes advantage of hands-on learning to rapidly prepare individuals for employability in the industry.
“For the right person willing to invest time and effort into training and investigation, and with the desire to build a knowledge and experience base in the trades, future employment opportunities appear good in the construction industry,” said Waldhuetter.
For more information about Moraine Park’s programs in the construction trades, go to www.morainepark.edu and click on Academics.