Educate Your Workforce

Mike Heering

August 2006

One of the questions I often hear is, "What will be the biggest challenge over the next year?” The number one answer probably is "finding a qualified work force.”

It is up to us to educate the work force of tomorrow, and there are many ways to achieve it. One example for open shop contractors is to place our new hires with a qualified crew that is willing and able to teach the trades. We can help this process along by doing in-house training, ranging from how to read a tape measure all the way up to reading plans. For union contractors there is the formal apprenticeship training program leading to journeyman status.

For supervisors, office employees and executives, AWCI offers a host of education programs throughout the year in various parts of the country. In winter there is the AWCI Academy, usually comprising two education tracks: one covering management issues and the other covering field management or perhaps estimating. Our convention in the spring offers several practical seminars dealing with things like how to increase your profits and succession planning. Our fall conference, AWCI’s Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Week, typically deals with management tracks aimed at our young executives and technical tracks aimed at technology and production.

There is also the EIFS—Doing It Right program. It is not only for our applicators but also our management people, architects and inspectors. This program, also offered in Spanish, has been all over the country and is constantly updated as needs arise. The newest program, Steel—Doing It Right, was introduced this year in Atlanta at AWCI’s Academy. It was put together by the AWCI and the Steel Framing Alliance. It is a three-day program dealing with load-bearing and non-load bearing cold-formed steel framing and flooring.

In conclusion, I’d like to say it does not matter which method you choose to provide training for your field team or your young management team—just take the initiative to give them the opportunity to further their education and invest in their future.