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Filling the Workforce Gap

Workforce Partnership

What do you want to do when you grow up?

A question asked of us more than once in our youth and typically by someone that we are wired to have a serious and thoughtful response. I’m very happy for but envious of, those that can respond to their calling at a young age.

For most of us, at that young age, the world is a vast place full of promise and undisclosed possibilities. In order to better insure the vocationally challenged individual does not stray off the path to success, society often prescribes a simple formula – stay in school, get good grades, go to college and begin your career.

But it does not really answer the opening question. How many of our young people enter a university with that youthful enthusiasm only to change majors, drop out or even graduate and end up with a job unrelated to their major. Not a knock on the universities as it can be a great start to personal and professional development.  

K-12 schools are focused on objective goals like graduation rates, standardized test results and SAT scores that often miss the mark when attempting to place its students in an ever changing work place environment.  

Each month we set a record for the longest economic expansion in U.S. history driving an unemployment rate that hangs around 3.7%. The Gen Z and millennial’s have the fastest job turn over rate among generations. Moreover today’s younger generation has little interest in pursing the type of jobs that have historically have driven our country – manufacturing and construction.

So how do we close the gap between a limited supply and a strong demand?

In 2013, Ferguson Construction Company played a large role in joining area businesses to discuss the growing demand to supply local businesses with local talent. As a result the Workforce Partnership was formed with the primary role of exposing the youth of our area to the types of jobs available and work performed in our area with the emphasis on skilled trades. 

Examples of the exposure given to our youth are an annual career exploration fair. Where, students have the opportunity to explore hands on opportunities with the different skilled trades. A skilled trade ninja course exposes students to the basic trade skills. Specialized classrooms are set up for middle and high school students to learn more in depth about skilled trades and are repaired to enter the work force after graduation.    

Please see Hometown Opportunity and Workforce Partnership for more info.