Workforce a familiar friend
As we emerge from the recession we’ve all been wrapped up in, there is a new – but familiar – issue for our industry surfacing, and that is our workforce. While many areas have not seen a major recovery yet, there are some pockets around the country already feeling the results of a five-year downturn in our industry, and that is a loss of our craftsmen. Coming out of the downturn, it will be our challenge as an industry to rebuild our workforce and train for the future.
One thing the MCAA is doing to face this issue head on is working to develop high school vocational programs, and facilitate those programs’ use of the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s programs. These are now MCAA-backed masonry apprenticeship programs. Bringing respect and admiration back to vocational training in high schools is a major focus for the MCAA and should be for our country, as a whole.
As a part of this development, the MCAA is starting a pilot program in the state of Kentucky this year. It will be the first program we have taken on, based on the information the Masonry Association of Florida has worked with us on during the last three years regarding setting up a successful high school program that can help fund a post-secondary apprenticeship program.
We are excited to see it start and also are excited to see other programs starting this fall. The Utah Masonry Council is setting up a program, the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute is setting up a program, and others are working theirs. It is time to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for our future by investing in our future craftsmen.
Of course, you can learn all about this initiative and others at our Midyear Meeting next month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at the Disney Beach Club Resort. I would hope to see many of you there, and we would love to share with you the many things happening at the MCAA and how we are planning and building for our future. Check out the meeting plans at www.masoncontractors.org/midyear.
About the Author
John J. Smith Jr. is the President of John J. Smith Masonry Company. He has served as an officer on the Executive Board, the Region E Vice President, and the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America.