Construction Leaders Take to the Airwaves to Educate Congress on Workforce Issues

by Scott Braddock

All last week, members of the Associated Builders and Contractors of America were in Washington to talk with members of Congress and others about the need to invest in a future workforce.

As part of their effort, ABC’s national leadership took to the airwaves on WTOP Radio to get into the specifics of sustaining a robust construction industry in an era of emerging technologies.

Mike Bellaman, ABC’s president and CEO, told the audience that the group’s 21,000 members “build all of America.”

“They build infrastructure, hard – meaning utilities, roads, etc. – as well as social – which means schools, churches and educational institutions,” Bellaman said. “They build office buildings, retail complexes, stadiums – all the special places that we live in, learn, go have fun in, get healed, etc.”

“Our members focus heavily on being world class,” Bellaman said of the fierce competition in the marketplace.

“World class in terms of creating value, world class in safety performance, world class in innovation and technology,” he said. “Anything that they can do to differentiate themselves in terms of adding value to the bottom line for the construction user, and through that value differentiation they really dominate the markets that they’re in.”

This story first appeared here.

The skilled worker shortage across the United States is no myth, Bellaman said, noting that the industry has 500,000 openings ready to be filled now.

Chuck Goodrich, president of Gaylor Electric and ABC’s 2017 chairman, said companies have to focus on the bigger picture if they’re going to address the worker shortage in the long-haul.

“We focus on a career culture, not just a job opportunity,” he said. “We want folks to embrace the construction industry as a career,” Goodrich said. “So, we want them to see the vision of their goals and their dreams coming true as they work and build America.”