12C — June 22 - July 12, 2018 — Mid-Year Review — M id A tlantic
Real Estate Journal
By Steve Schrum, Kinsley Construction, Inc. Tackling the construction skills gap
C onstruction is among the many trade in- dustries currently in
Statistics is also projecting a 22% growth in construction by 2022, likely requiring even more employees to enter the field. Finding a solution to the skills gap remains a top prior- ity in order for contractors and subcontractors to keep our business afloat. A proactive approach Before the skills gap phe- nomenon became the crisis it is today, Kinsley saw a need to attract more people to the industry and teach essential construction skills and stan- dards. In 2000, we kickstarted their own Apprenticeship Pro-
gram, offering three- and four- year programs in carpentry, ironworking and highway and bridge construction. By com- bining on-site fieldwork with classroom training, appren- tices become certified Jour- neymen with the hands-on experience required to launch their career. The programs also offer cross-training in concrete finishing, scaffolding, industrial welding, plumbing and electrical. To help expand supervisory and project management op- portunities for apprentices, we teamed up with a local com-
munity college to offer college credits towards an Associate’s Degree for their work in the program. While enrollment and in- terest in the Apprenticeship Program continued to increase each year, efforts expanded. As more schools started to eliminate shop class from their curriculum, students began to lose out on oppor- tunities to learn about dif- ferent possibilities for them post-graduation. Without this early insight into the construction industry, Kinsley recognized a need to offer a
Pre-Apprenticeship Program tailored to high school juniors and seniors. The program al- lows high school students to gain some hands-on experi- ence through small projects and learn about opportunities in the field. The program also allows Kinsley to talk with students about the wide-range of positions and career paths available and their exciting future of growth. Through these programs, most of graduates continue employment with Kinsley. What’s next The Apprenticeship and Pre- Apprenticeship Programs have served as a great tool to recruit and retain employees, demon- strate the company’s invest- ment in training and develop- ment, and share opportunities for growth available in the in- dustry. Though successful, the challenge of attracting younger generations to the construction of industry and the associated skills gap isn’t completely re- solved. With plans to expand the Apprenticeship and Pre- Apprenticeship Programs into various market sectors and geographic areas throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, there’s hope that these programs will be the first step in tackling the construction skills gap. Steve Schrum is the vice president of Kinsley’s Maryland Building Divi- sion. Schrum has worked in the construction indus- try since 1977 and started with Kinsley in 1983 as an estimator / project coor- dinator, and advanced to become a project execu- tive. He earned his Bach- elor’s Degree from Penn State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylva- nia and Maryland, and earned certifications in LEED AP Building Design + Construction and Green Advantage Commercial. Baltimore Business Jour- nal (BBJ) ranked Kinsley Construction, Inc as the #6 general contractor in Balti- more City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. In 2017, Kinsley earned $173.4 million in local revenue, helping them earn a ranking as one of the area’s top general contrac- tors. Projects of note in 2017 include McHenry Row, Nelson Kohl, Center West and 500 Park Avenue.
dire need of new, trained employees. In addition to the lack of individu- als who are trained and ready to en- ter the work-
force, the number of employ- ees preparing to retire adds to a long list of trade positions that companies are looking to fill. The Bureau of Labor
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