Every industry is facing workforce issues and experiencing talent shortages. In fact, 46% of U.S. employers can’t find the skills they need to fill positions. Businesses are struggling to fill the talent gap due to a lack of available applicants, and a lack of applicants with the required technical and workplace competencies.

During the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s inaugural Workforce Summit, employers and education providers came together to highlight local partnerships that are fostering collaboration and delivering results.

Sundt and Central Arizona College (CAC) presented their innovative learning and training model that launched in 2017.

“We wanted to take responsibility and ensure that we’re successful,” said Dan Haag, Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer for Sundt Construction. “This is a true partnership program.”

Haag explained that across the country, by 2020, there will be a 2 million-person shortage of craft professionals. In Arizona, that number will be 155,000 by 2021.

In conjunction with Sundt, CAC offers five pre-employment, one-year certificates and one three-year academic apprenticeship program that lead to certifications. They also offer certificates and degrees that prepare students for workforce needs including heavy equipment operator, structural welding, pipefitting, industrial construction, and concrete construction technology.

The first program launched with 110 students and has grown to include 196 students. To date, the program has a 94% certification rate and all graduates have moved on to employment in the industry.

Programs like the Sundt and CAC partnership are addressing those shortages in a cross-functional, collaborative manner that works for businesses, education providers, and students.

In launching the program, CAC focused on four pillars: co-design, co-develop, co-deliver, and constant engagement. Those four pillars guide how CAC collaborates with employers to curate training programs that prepare students for work with any company in the industry. The key to this sustaining partnership is that CAC has never asked Sundt for money, rather CAC asked Sundt to contribute time and talent to growing the program.

“We have a great program with CAC, but we need a lot more of these programs to meet the workforce demand,” said Haag.

In partnership with employers across the state, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s Construction Workforce Collaborative is working to launch the Build Your Future Arizona campaign, a subset of the national Build Your Future program.

Build Your Future (BYF) aims to be the catalyst for recruiting the next generation of craft professionals. BYF provides a collaborative grassroots approach to construction workforce forecasting and development that includes recruitment, training, placement, retention, and image enhancement strategies.

As employers across all industries continue to face workforce challenges that hinder their ability to grow, it’s vital that business and education providers come together to develop innovative solutions to close talent gaps.

Posted by Danny Imes