New Collaborative Building Trades Program Launches

Lissa Diaz
In Indiana, construction companies are looking to hire more than 61,000 workers through 2017, according to the National Center for Construction Education and Research. But the skilled trades gap is making it difficult for employers to hire qualified workers. According to ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey, for six consecutive years skilled trade vacancies have been the hardest for employers to fill. WorkOne, Bethel College and local unions and employers are partnering to address this issue by providing a two-week building trades training program designed to put area workers on the path to a career in the building trades industry.

The first session will launch on April 18 at WorkOne in South Bend. It will equip participants with the most industry-requested skills necessary to enter and advance in a career in the building trades, in both union and non-union settings. Students will learn from professionals in the industry, earn OSHA 10 and first aid certifications, and gain hands-on experience. Upon completion of the program, participants will attend an exclusive job fair with local trade unions and non-union employers.

A similar model has been used for the Hospitality & Tourism program, also a collaboration between WorkOneand Bethel College. Seventeen of the 19 people who completed the program have received job offers from local hospitality and tourism employers. Bethel’s Director of Corporate Relations, Lisa Greco, Ph.D., expects the building trades program to be just as successful.

“We feel we have been able to develop an excellent short-term training template that generates a better first-day employee,” says Greco. “We see our role as preparing individuals to make and keep a commitment to building careers in the fields demanding more employees.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 153 has played a key collaborative role with other trade unions in providing training material and equipment for the program.

“The IBEW Local 153 is proud to take a lead in helping to bring about a collaborative solution for growing our community,” says Steve Egyed, training director for the Joint Apprenticeship Training Council (JATC) and WorkOne board member.

The program is administered through WorkOne and is free to participants, who are pre-screened and drug tested. To apply, contact Laura Vasquez at WorkOne, 574.237.9675, ext. 1175.