Finding skilled labor has historically been a challenge in the construction industry. To address this ongoing issue, the Alabama Construction Workforce Alliance has recently formed to work collaboratively with the state to train prospective employees who will be credentialed and certified for employment in the construction industry.
“Coming from the highway construction and roadbuilding business, I am well aware of the incredible need for highly-skilled workers in this sector,” said Alabama Workforce Council chair Tim McCartney, formerly of McCartney Construction. “The collaboration that has already been established and future plans put forth by ACWA is exactly what we need in this moment. This aligns perfectly with Governor Ivey’s attainment goal of adding 500,000 credentialed workers to the workforce by 2025 and our overall workforce development credentialing pipeline efforts.”
The alliance currently consists of the Alabama Associated General Contractors, the Alabama Roadbuilders Association, the Alabama Workforce Council, the Alabama Construction Research Institute and Auburn University.
These groups have committed to partnering together, with state education and workforce agencies, to guide ACWA’s mission and the vision for the streamlined construction workforce.
“ACWA was developed as a response to concerns by the Alabama construction industry about the serious shortage of skilled labor and the need for improvements to the current construction workforce talent pipeline,” said Jorge Rueda, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University and the person leading ACWA implementation efforts. “The proposed alliance is based on the premise that greater benefits are obtained when workforce development initiatives are implemented as a combined, coordinated effort by government, industry and education entities. ACWA is poised to integrate recruitment, retention and training efforts into an overall strategic plan tearing down the traditional workforce development silos.”
ACWA was identified recently as one of the five third-party intermediaries for the $17.8 million Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant awarded to assist workers displaced by COVID-19.
The grant will be administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce and used to support the Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program. The Alabama Community College System, Alabama Technology Network and AIDT will be instrumental in providing the training programs for the grant as well as implementing the new construction-focused training programs.