Why Construction Apprenticeships Matter: Outreach and Retention Strategies

Construction has always been an essential force behind a growing economy and is vital to a city’s growth and infrastructure. Labor shortages, however, have impacted the industry with many trade-skilled men and women retiring. To combat the issue, construction companies, community colleges, and high school career and technical education programs are partnering to introduce career options in construction and other skilled trade careers to a new generation.

Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for construction companies to train and develop their workforce. Apprentices can learn a trade while working under the supervision of a journeyman-level expert, receiving real-world and hands-on developmental opportunities.

Importance of Apprenticeship Programs

With the future of the workforce ever-changing, companies and local governments are looking to apprenticeship programs to provide participants with the opportunity to learn trade skills while continuing to make a paycheck. Apprenticeship programs have long been used in the construction industry, but as the needs of the workforce change, apprenticeship programs are evolving to meet the needs of a variety of industries.

For young people looking for an alternative to traditional college, apprenticeship programs offer the opportunity to learn valuable job skills while earning a living. With the cost of college continuing to rise, apprenticeship programs provide an attractive debt-free option for many students. For those already in the workforce, apprenticeship programs offer a way to learn new skills and advance their career. As companies and governments evaluate the future of the workforce, apprenticeship programs will play an increasingly important role in providing workers with the skills they need to succeed.

Building the Future Workforce in Construction

Apprenticeship programs in the construction industry are seeing an increase in popularity, as more companies and local governments partner with schools and organizations to raise awareness about careers in construction and the trades. High schools, colleges, and trade schools are providing students with alternative pathways outside of the four-year college degree, and apprenticeship programs are seen as a way to provide career stability and growth.

Construction is a high-turnover industry, so outreach and retention methods are crucial to keeping workers employed. By providing education around career stability, students can feel confident going into a field that will provide them with the skills and training needed to get the job done and improve their finances for themselves and their families. Apprenticeship programs provide on-the-job training that can give workers the skills they need to be successful in their careers, and companies that offer these programs often have higher retention rates than those that do not.

Workforce Development at RK

RK has a long history of supporting workforce development in the communities it works in. Partnerships with trade schools and most recently, MSU Denver, have opened doors for students to earn a degree in construction management while also learning the hands-on skills necessary to succeed in the industry. Giving people an opportunity to further their careers without going into high debt is something that RK values. Its dedication to workforce development and its apprenticeship program has proven successful, with individuals graduating and pursuing opportunities within RK, further improving the state of the industry.

Grants for the Construction Industry

RK and its 501 (c)(3) organization, RK Foundation, support community organizations, providing grants to help bridge gaps in trade education. Donations to institutions like MSU Denver and The Master’s Apprentice help improve educational programming in construction, making it an attractive and viable career. It also helps fulfill the demand for workers in the skilled trades.

Visit the Department of Labor’s website to learn more about apprenticeship opportunities in construction and other industries. You can also find information about RK’s commitment to workforce development at rkindustries.com/careers/apprenticeship-program/.

Written by Ileana Morales

Apprenticeship act aims to build construction careers, RED, accessed September 19, 2022

Apprenticeship Week in the Construction Industry, DigiBuild, accessed September 19, 2022

Construction Apprenticeships: Building the Workforce of Tomorrow, ConstructConnect, accessed September 19, 2022