Spokane Journal of Business

AGC launches construction workforce program

Campaign intended to link workers with employers

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 The Associated General Contractors of America Inland Northwest chapter has launched a new campaign focused on construction workforce development and community outreach in a bid to help fill local job openings, says Shannen Talbot, marketing and communications director for the Spokane-area construction trade organization.

Talbot says the new initiative, dubbed Trade Up 2 Construction, is designed to highlight construction employers, job and learning opportunities, and other career resources.

“There’s not always one easy entry point to the construction industry,” Cheryl Stewart, executive director of AGC Inland Northwest says in a press release about the program. “This campaign is a bid to streamline that process, share clearly defined pathways with those seeking to kickstart their own construction careers, and take meaningful action to address workforce challenges in our industry and across our region.”

A recent workforce study by Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk Inc. reports that 91% of national construction firms are struggling to meet their labor needs.

“Construction workforce shortages are severe and having a significant impact on construction firms of all types, all sizes, and all labor arrangements,” says AGC’s chief economist Ken Simonson, in a press release. 

According to Simonson, the construction industry’s employment shortages exacerbate supply-chain issues and delivery schedules, while inflated construction material costs threaten future investments in infrastructure.

AGC’s labor analysis shows that 82% of construction companies nationwide have reported delays caused by supply chain challenges and two-thirds of projects have been delayed due to workforce shortages.

Those supply chain and labor issues have increased costs, and while some companies have passed along those costs to their clients, 58% of construction firms reported project owners canceled, delayed, or reduced the scope of their projects altogether.

To tackle these problems, construction companies report increased investment and support of career-building programs. 

“While the majority of construction firms today are struggling to find skilled workers to fill open jobs, the labor shortage is only going to intensify as more workers retire,” says director of customer experience and industry advocacy for Autodesk, Allison Scott. “The renewed investments in career development and training programs, as well as a focus on digital skills, demonstrates that the industry is committed to taking action to build the next generation of the workforce.”

Such challenges prompted the launch of the Trade Up 2 Construction program here, Talbot explains.

“We’re all united together in the trades on how important it is to promote those (careers) to our youth and to help uplift them and transition them into a job or career that serves them,” Talbot says.

Talbot says additional information can be found at the Trade Up 2 Construction website, tradeup2construction.com, which offers a construction-related job board, career resources for workers, and an upcoming resource site for career and technical educators.

Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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