Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Did We Make a Mistake with This?

Since I work coaching contractors on improving their businesses, I’ve found they are suffering with the same constant problem no matter where they are in this country.

This problem is causing endless headaches, and I think we’ve made a major mistake.

When I first started my own construction business in the 70’s, I made a pledge with myself never to hire a foreman unless he had the following attributes to offer me:

       1.   An impeccable reputation of getting the work done on-time and on-budget
2.       Have sons working in his crew

I was trying to not only bring to my company a quality person, but also wanted to make sure I had future workers or foreman who were trained to that performance level as well.

My first foreman I hired had four sons in his crew of seven. They were all well-trained and excellent workers. Over time they were promoted up the ranks, one became my Vice-President of operations.

The problem is, try and do that today.

We’ve made a mistake that is costing us in the construction industry in a big way. We are suffering with the ability to find workers, let alone good workers.

Over the years, I’m sure you made the same mistake I did with my children. Telling them they had to go to college. The result is, not too many sons have followed in their father’s footsteps to master a trade.

The result is, we can’t find good people. It seems every young person believes they are college material. Some find out later in life they made an error. Unfortunately, sometimes too much time has passed them by.

To make matters worse, the price of college has skyrocketed. We have a generation of students graduating with degrees they can’t find a job for, and over-burden with debt. That also means the American dream is nowhere within their grasp.

The question to answer is, why would we saddle them with such debt and disappointment?

Working in construction can be rewarding in many ways. Most certainly, is a good paying job. Some can easily make six-figure incomes. Plus, the future looks good for continuing employment.

We must find a way to attract young people into the construction industry. Especially, when so many are not college material. I believe we need to look at our younger generation and show them a path to a trade school so they can learn a payable skill.

It’s our industry. If we don’t take the initiative in attracting young people to learning a trade, we’ll suffer with this problem for a long time. A problem I believe we created.

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