Tackling the Skilled Labor Gap – One Step at a Time

If you’re like me, you have seen a number of articles, news stories, and blogs pointing to a shortage of skilled labor. At Faith Technologies, we’re working to combat the skills gap head-on through two long-term approaches: our Ground-up Growth strategy and Workforce Management initiatives.

The fact is, there are not enough skilled electricians in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, there were more than 631,000 electricians nation-wide, with an expected 9% growth in electrician jobs from 2016 to 2026. Couple that with a report from the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) informing us that there are potentially 300,000 Baby Boomers retiring in the coming years, and it’s evident that electrical contractors and construction companies could be in a world of hurt when it comes to a critical business component…their people. What are we to do about this national shortage?

This is where Faith Technologies’ Ground-up Growth strategy comes in. In 2010, we initiated our nationally accredited in-house apprenticeship program out of our Kansas office, and today the program is offered company-wide throughout the country to support our goal to enroll 350 apprentices each year. There are many great apprenticeship programs out there, but the key advantage to having our own program is that our field employees learn the electrical trade from within our company, allowing them to deepen their understanding of our work and safety culture through first-hand applications in our training labs, classrooms, and jobsites. Our instructors have a wealth of experience in the field and can quickly relate to the work atmosphere our apprentices will encounter.

While our Ground-up Growth strategy focuses on attracting and training the future of our skilled workforce, the next step is retaining our current workforce by developing a closer connection with our field employees. Through the collaborative efforts of our Workforce Management Department, we’re providing our 1,800 field employees with a direct resource to important company communications, career pathing support, and other personnel matters. Since mid-2017, our Workforce Management Department has been in the process of matching every field employee with a workforce manager who regularly contacts each of their team members to keep a pulse on their wants, needs and morale. The workforce managers also work closely with each of the project managers throughout the country, identifying project requirements and lining up skilled team members for each job based on skill sets and work experience within the project’s vertical market. This ensures that not only are our field employees going to a jobsite where they will be a skills and cultural fit, but also focuses on the development of employees to keep them well balanced for career progression and success.

At Faith Technologies, we know there’s no easy answer to the skilled labor gap, but we’re seeing great results by building and mentoring our team internally to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of our customers and the growing needs of the construction industry.

This article first appeared on the NCCER blog site.