Michigan Home Builders Attract New Workers to Industry

Filed in Education, Home Building by on September 5, 2014 0 Comments
CWDA Graduates

CWDA Graduates

One unfortunate consequence of the Great Recession is that fewer students are seeking careers in the construction industry because they are worried about job security.

The result: Just as home builders dust themselves off and get back in the saddle, they’re having trouble filling open positions.

The HBA of Greater Grand Rapids is working on a solution. It’s the Construction Workforce Development Alliance (CWDA), a collaborative effort with the local Associated Builders & Contractors chapter and the American Subcontractors Association of Michigan.

Formed in January 2014, the CDWA mission is to redefine the image of the construction industry and promote career opportunities. It is also holding training classes for new industry employees and for those who would like to get into the construction business.

The Construction Core Certification is a 100-hour program with 12 learning modules from construction math to materials handling to lead and asbestos awareness, as well as first aid and CPR. Classes are held at the local community college.

And because CWDA enlisted the help of the state’s workforce development agency, the group had access to grants and other funding opportunities to develop curriculum, provide scholarships and get the word out to prospective students and employers: the secret to its healthy launch, said HBA EO Emily Lubbers.

“We had been hearing from our members – both the ABC and the HBA – that labor was an issue,” Lubbers said, so when the two associations approached Michigan state leaders and explained the problem, their ears perked up: Grand Rapids is in a rapidly developing area of the state that can’t afford to have a housing problem.

In addition, Lubbers made sure that high school counselors and administrators knew about the opportunities available in the home construction industry. “They may be remembering the news from four or five years ago,” when unemployment hit all-time highs, she said. “They need to know that it’s changed. It’s important to make that connection with them.”

Read more about CWDA at its website, or contact Emily Lubbers at 616-281-2021 for more information.

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