The National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) reports in their spring issue of Concrete InFocus that the shortage of skilled labor continues to be a problem. Furthermore, they add that it has become even more evident with the increase in construction projects that will need more construction workers to fill the gap. In fact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an average growth of 13 percent or 227,500 additional laborers and helpers that will be needed from 2014 to 2024. The statistics indicates a faster that average growth than other occupations.
There have been a few steps taken to help attract and train workers to meet the demand but more needs to be done. For the ready mix industry, there are already some programs in place such as the Fox Valley Technical Institute in Appleton, WI that runs a dedicated cement mixer driver program. It is open to anyone and not limited to Wisconsin drivers.
In the case of concrete construction workers, there are several programs in the works to address this issue such as one at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Currently being developed, the two-year program will culminate in an Associate Degree in Concrete Technology. According to an instructor, Frank Reber, the Penn Tech program will focus on “practical aspects of concrete construction, with an emphasis on forming, placing and finishing concrete.” Currently there are two other programs like this in the country, one at Alpena Community College in Alpena, MI and the other at Rhodes State College in Lima, OH.
Another strategy for recruiting concrete construction workers is using media awareness campaigns. One example is from the Nebraska Concrete and Aggregates Association that put together a series of YouTube videos to reach out to young people who may be interested in working in the industry. Also unions such as the Cement Masons’ International Association are running ads on TV touting the benefits of a career in concrete construction.
Then there are companies like Conco who are willing to hire and train unexperienced workers such as our posting for “Concrete Boom Pump Operators.” For more career opportunities from The Conco Companies, please see our website.
The Conco Companies are one of the foremost suppliers of concrete services for the Western U.S. We got our start in 1959 in the Bay Area by offering clients the best value on a broad range of concrete services and products. Since that time, we have taken a leading role as top concrete contractors in the region. We have four regional offices serving California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Washington.