From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - October 6, 2023
I was recently at a meeting of AGC chapters from around the country. People were asked to introduce themselves and offer what they were most interested in learning about from other attendees. To the person, the number one issue was workforce. Workforce, workforce, workforce!
It’s a challenge for all of us in the construction industry and in pretty much all industries. With that in mind, the competition to gain the interest of the next generation of construction professionals is high. The nursing industry, teaching industry, and public safety industry are all fighting for workers. The state of Delaware is running about a 20% vacancy rate for its workforce.
Jamie Chambers, DCA Director of Workforce Development, has done a great job building relationships with our education partners ranging from Delaware’s vocational schools to DTCC to our higher education institutions. She works consistently with the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Department of Labor to increase both the number of apprentices and the diversity of those considering entering the field. If you have seen Jamie personally make her pitch to students, you know she does a really amazing job of connecting with them. She brings the best of her skills in this area to DCA’s Annual Construction Week student panel.
But Jamie isn’t alone among DCA’s workforce development resources to carry the message of the great careers to be had in construction. Our members are out talking to tomorrow’s builders at every opportunity. Alisha Bryson, Wayman Fire Protection, serves on the Delaware Workforce Development Board and champions construction workforce development tirelessly. She was a driving force in the highly successful Governor’s Construction Career Expo. Most recently, she joined DCA staffer, Mary Sheldon, at a Delaware Department of Labor event aimed at increasing construction career interest among student age females. DOL is interested in increasing industry participation by all underrepresented persons in Delaware but has recently issued a report titled Delaware Women and the Construction Trades: A Path to Economic Security.
DCA’s Immediate Past President, Mike Peet, Modern Controls, and Senior Vice President, Steve Dennis, Schlosser and Associates Mechanical Contractors, have both been making the rounds to our vocational and technical high schools. Mike, who is a Delcastle alumni, shared with students the varied and rewarding career opportunities the construction industry offers. He is a great example of how becoming a skilled tradesperson opens a world of opportunity for a person. Steve met with VoTech students sharing the significant financial rewards that await skilled trades professionals. He also shared the road map to success in the construction industry his company calls the Schlosser Way. Learning a trade skill is critical to success in the industry but so are the other factors Steve covered regarding drive and responsibility.
We are in a competition with other industries and need our champions like Alisha, Mike, Steve and Jamie. Many thanks and “hats off” to all DCA’s members who are building tomorrow’s construction workforce.