“The Crane Drain” (7/19) provided insight into what is a problem not only in the Washington metropolitan area, but also nationally throughout the construction industry: There are not enough individuals prepared to enter into the construction industry in a career-oriented fashion. This problem, however, is not a racial one, as suggested by the article; it includes all ethnic and racial groups. It is also a problem that the industry is constantly trying to address.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Metropolitan Washington is the leading merit-shop construction-industry association in the area. With nearly 500 members, the majority of whom are contractors and subcontractors, we are always looking for opportunities to attract new individuals into what can be very rewarding careers in the construction industry. Two areas where we have pressed recently to make improvements are vocational education and apprenticeship training. We believe a renewed emphasis in the public-school system can truly make a difference in enlightening students as to the opportunities that await them in the construction trades. As a partner in the broad-based coalition JOBS (Job Opportunities Build Success), we consider this one of our priority goals over the next several months. We will be working with the school system and our elected officials to provide a strategy and a vision to reinvigorate the vocational training programs in our public schools.
On July 25, the D.C. Apprenticeship Council approved ABC of Metro Washington’s submission of six apprenticeship programs. This is a historic action on the part of the council, which we hope will translate into many training opportunities for District residents. This should be a win-win situation; it will provide new employment opportunities for District residents while expanding the labor pool for the industry. The timing is right to begin to turn this problem around for the benefit of all concerned.
Associated Builders and Contractors of Metropolitan Washington