Because of our place in the industry, we know there has been a decline in the number of people going into the trades. But the need for new tradespeople hasn’t slowed.
According to the Construction Careers Foundation, a projected 1 million trade professionals will be needed in the industry by 2023 to meet the continued growing demand for services. As part of Careers in Construction month, ABC Maine will do all it can to highlight the rewarding and well-compensated jobs available in the building trades industry.
Careers in Construction Month is a nationwide campaign observed each October to increase public awareness of construction and the paths available, inspire the next generation of trade professionals and make an impact on the perception of a career in construction and the trades.
For far too long, there has been a stigma attached to those who take jobs in construction after high school rather than attend college. But there is no shame in being an electrician, carpenter, woodworker, general laborer, installer, contractor, plumber or painter. In fact, many jobs in construction regularly bring workers more than $50 an hour—that isn’t something every job requiring a college degree can offer.
Part of what ABC Maine does—along with its national organization, Associated Builders and Contractors—is erase that stigma by highlighting the importance of trade jobs and the earning potential of someone who goes into a career in construction.
ABC Maine and ABC National have invested $1.6 billion in workforce development programs and initiatives, and those efforts have drawn 1.3 million people into the trades.
The 68 chapters and more than 21,000 members nationwide provide training, work-based learning, competency-based progression and apprenticeships.
ABC Maine started its apprenticeship program to provide on-the-job training for people trying to break into the construction industry. There are myriad benefits of training to be an apprentice with one of the 182 ABC Maine member businesses. That includes apprentices getting paid instead of accruing debt as they would at a college or university.
The ABC Maine apprenticeship program is an earn as you learn and grow program. In a construction apprenticeship program, apprentices learn skills and knowledge from experienced craft professionals.
Apprenticeships are also good for businesses because they can develop employee loyalty and create a steady flow of skilled workers—and that is important with such a need for new workers coming into the construction industry.
Inclusivity in Construction
Last year, in lockstep with the movement for social change that was sweeping the country, a group of contractors formed a consortium called Time for Change dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in the construction industry—especially for women.
According to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics published in January 2022, women make up 47% of all employed individuals but only 10.9% of people working in construction. That means the construction industry in only benefitting from about 1.25% of women in the workforce. And with an industry desperate for new workers, those numbers need to change.
ABC Maine supported the cause last year and continues to support the initiative and its mission by promoting best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion within the construction industry.
2022 Construction Inclusion Week runs from October 17-October 21. The goal of the week is to continue to build the foundation for inclusion and to deepen the field for workers at a time they’re desperately needed The hope is also to spark discussions either in the office or on the jobsite to create meaningful and lasting change in the construction industry.
To help drive the discussion, Construction Inclusion Week has posted a list of daily subjects and related resources and activities (which are also available on its website and can be accessed by ABC Maine members):
- October 17: Commitment & Accountability
- October 18: Belonging
- October 19: Supplier Diversity
- October 20: Workplace Culture
- October 21: Community Engagement
For more information on Construction Inclusion Week, visit www.constructioninclusionweek.com. ABC Maine members can also request ABC National’s diversity, equity and inclusion brochures by emailing Tami Staples at firstname.lastname@example.org.