As many of our readers already know, here at Constructech we have dubbed 2018 the year of the construction worker. This trend was front and center in the recent Spring issue of Constructech magazine and is the impetus for the first Skillset Academy, which will take place on April 16 at Iowa State University.

The objective here is to educate construction workers and help create and implement ways to alleviate the shortage of skilled and qualified employees. Now is the time. So I thought for this blog I would look at a few ways that construction companies are providing inspiration through mentoring and engagement.

Connect with Entrepreneurs
One way to drive the next generation of innovators in the construction industry is to connect local startups with industry experts. This is exactly what Bechtel is doing with a partnership with Station Houston.

This particular venture focuses on enhancing opportunities for local entrepreneurs through mentoring and engagement in solving EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) challenges. It will include a team of Bechtel innovators working with Houston entrepreneurs.

Connect with Students
Another way to inspire is to introduce young students to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. One case comes from Suffolk and DREAM, which provides inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn, and grow.

Recently, middle school students from this program visited Suffolk’s New York office and had the opportunity to explore the Smart Lab. Students wore a VR (virtual reality) headset that placed them inside a hotel, where they were able to design their own hotel rooms.

Students also worked with Suffolk employees to build towers using gummy bears and toothpicks to learn fundamental building skill. At the event, Suffolk team members shared their career trajectories—from engineering and construction management to architecture and computer science.

These are just a few ways to engage and drive innovation. What are your thoughts? How can we alleviate the anticipated shortage of skilled and qualified employees? Do we need to learn from the manufacturing industry back in the ‘80s?

Let’s start the conversation here and continue it at the two-hour Skillset Academy on April 16, which will focus on students, skilled laborers, and employees that want to think differently about innovation.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor