Originally published in the San Diego Transcript on Friday, June 21, 2019.
June is the happiest month of the year for Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego. We celebrate the graduation of a new class of journeymen and women from our apprenticeship training program. This year, 84 graduates and their families celebrated four to five years of hard work in our classrooms and labs as well as on the job. Now they are fully certified in their chosen trade and will contribute their skills to their employers and their communities.
But they will soon find out their need for training never stops. Ongoing training in new technology, techniques, materials, and codes is a vital part of being a qualified construction professional. ABCSD's continuing education program offers journeyperson training, management training, all safety certifications, and helps craft professionals meet their continuing education requirements to advance in their careers.
This is good news for our member contractors and for the Class of 2019, part of the leading edge of the so-called "Generation Z," the generation following the Millennials born from 1995 through the mid-2000s.
Generation Z workers have different characteristics than their Millennial counterparts. They are hardworking and entrepreneurial. They value advanced education and career preparation in a more practical way than prior generations. They view education and training as stepping stones in career advancement.
With the construction industry facing a serious worker shortage, employers offering continuing education will make them more successful in attracting and retaining top young talent. A 2018 report from the consulting firm Ernst and Young urges companies to embrace the enthusiasm of Generation Z employees for learning by providing opportunities for practical, career-oriented learning as a competitive advantage.
Construction professionals can continue to advance in their careers through education programs offered at ABCSD. Our continuing education program offers journeyperson training, management training, all safety certifications, and helps craft professionals meet their continuing education requirements.
In addition, numerous courses beneficial to construction managers are offered through ABCSD that can provide a foundation for aspiring entrepreneurs to open their own businesses, creating new job opportunities that help grow the region's economy. According to a survey published in the Harvard Business Review, one in four Generation Z employees wants to start his or her own business someday. This is entirely possible and encouraged in the construction industry. Many of ABCSD's graduates in the past five years are already running their own small subcontracting firms.
Flexible online courses help professionals accommodate training in their busy schedules. Hundreds of individuals have taken advantage of the revolving, ongoing courses.
Journeymen and women who perform prevailing wage work have a golden opportunity to take advantage of free tuition coverage annually, but many don't realize the benefit is available to them. In many states including California, people in prevailing wage classifications contribute a specified part of their hourly wages to support training. Eligible ABCSD journeyworkers have the opportunity to use these funds for their own training. They do not have to match the fees or pay in advance -- they only need to enroll and take the courses. It's simple and can really pay off when the time comes for decisions about promotions and pay increases.
Some of the many courses offered include construction project management, basic blueprint reading, critical path method, and construction foremanship, plus all safety training.
All courses are open both to members and non-members of ABCSD. Registering for classes is as easy as visiting the ABCSD website's Continuing Education section to review the course schedule and sign up. See the full online training calendar on the our website on the Continuing Education page.
Les DenHerder is President and CEO of HPS Mechanical, Inc, and chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego board of directors.