Workforce Week

The Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) 2017 Workforce Week is almost here, and that makes it a great time to look back on the year and celebrate the successes of ABC peers. Workforce Week, held Feb. 28 through March 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., provides merit shop contractors with great educational opportunities to stay on top of emerging trends in the construction industry. The event also offers plenty of opportunities for contractors to improve and grow their existing workforces. After all, a business is only as strong and successful as the people that comprise it.

ABC’s strategic goals for 2017 through 2022 will serve as a foundation for many of the sessions and topics discussed during Workforce Week. One of the main goals for the ABC over the next five years is to be the leader in construction training and developing skilled workers. There are people who as they grow and mature show a special aptitude for the trades, whether they grew up in a construction family, or they just had innate skills that translated well.

For those outside of such groups, there are still plenty of opportunities to break into the world of construction. This is where the ABC member companies can make their mark over the next five years and beyond. By actively recruiting new workforce entrants and students, ABC contractors should see an expanding talent pool in the years to come.

Marketing & Millennials

An important topic that will be covered at Workforce Week is marketing. In a session called “Creating a Marketing Culture,” ABC chapters who have invested more time and resources in proactive marketing efforts will share their insights. This is a functional area of business I think all contractors should have their eyes on, as I have eluded to in a previous blog: Tough Crowd—Understanding and Connecting With the Millennial Talent Pool. Marketing in the construction space is no longer just about acquiring new clients, but also acquiring new talent. This session will be a great chance for contractors to collaborate with members of chapters across the nation to learn marketing best practices, and what may help boost their marketing presence in the future.

Still the hot button topic, millennial recruitment and management will be an area of great focus during the ABC event. In recent years, the construction industry has taken great strides to connect with the incoming workforce entrants. But there is certainly more than can be done in this regard. As the construction landscape changes and established members of the workforce retire, it’s critical to the long-term success of today’s contractor to be able to navigate the new and incoming talent pool.

The millennial workforce is growing, and at a pace that contractors cannot ignore. In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of America’s workforce1. Their voices are becoming louder, and it’s up to all contractors to listen and learn how to engage with them.

Reaching Veterans

Another topic key to Workforce Week is engaging our nation’s servicemen and women. It’s no secret that our soldiers face a very challenging transition into everyday life once they leave the service. In an August 2016 survey conducted by iCIMS, a talent-acquisition firm in New Jersey, one of the top two reasons veterans turned down open positions was that they felt they lacked the necessary education or training2.

To bridge such gaps, the ABC is connecting with our armed forces to start training programs to help these men and women translate skills they already have into the construction trades. If anyone demonstrates the work ethic and determination it takes to complete challenging projects, it’s our troops. These programs will have significant effects, not just on the ABC and the military, but on our country as a whole. When we can employ more of our nation’s talent, our economy operates more efficiently.

With all the learning opportunities available during Workforce Week, you won’t want to miss this event! It’s shaping up to be an empowering experience, and one that will set the tone for contractors across the nation throughout 2017.

As a strategic partner with the ABC, Dexter + Chaney will be in attendance at Workforce Week 2017. We’d love to know what you found most interesting or insightful. Stop by our table and share with us what you learned!

1. “The Millennials Are Here, and More Are Coming” – Construction Executive, March 29, 2016
2. “How Veterans Adjust To The Civilian Workforce” – Forbes, November 11, 2016

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