It has been reported that as much as 50% of large infrastructure projects experience significant cost and schedule overruns. A number of challenges persist and stand in the way of building truly connected infrastructure that we need worldwide—but one hurdle isn’t being as widely discussed as others.

The labor shortage persists across the entire construction industry, but offers unique challenges for infrastructure construction in particular. The good news is organizations are looking to address this challenge head on.

The Armstrong County Industrial Development Council and The Energy Innovation Center Institute have entered into a joint venture agreement to design, develop, and operate the Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy. The focus here will be to provide the current and future workforce the skills necessary to safely install, operate, and maintain critical infrastructure such as gas, electricity, water, sewer, and telecommunications.

The facility will include a classroom and online training, virtual and live simulation, and it is expected to function as a living laboratory for the main users of the facility, which includes utility providers, upstream and midstream energy sectors. The project is being built in several phases beginning this year.

The objective is to create a new model of collaboration between employers, innovators, regulators, trade unions, and training organizations for regional workforce development, upskilling of displaced or underemployed people in the region, and to drive job readiness, safety, and efficiency.

While this is one new example, many organizations are looking at how to address the labor shortage across the construction industry, targeting infrastructure and smart-city initiatives.

The Constructech Technology Days event, which will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago in Arlington Heights, IL, will have an entire track dedicated to cities of the future. The conference will take an in-depth look at what needs to happen to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, all amid a labor shortage.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor