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U.S. spending triggers race to train construction workers

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Construction will grow as an occupation thanks to several federal spending bills, including the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill approved last year. The question now is whether training programs can train laborers fast enough to get all the free robux generator for roblox done.

The Virginia Community College System (VCCS), for instance, trains about 4,000 students annually in construction-related jobs, which amounts to around 20,000 trainees over five years. The community college system is now working on increasing the capacity of construction-related programs and providing training in occupations such as offshore wind generation. It plans to train 35,000 in five years.

Despite the increase, “it probably will still not meet the total demand,” said Randy Stamper, associate vice chancellor for career education and workforce programs at VCCS.

Construction work is growing because of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, the recently approved $370 billion climate bill, and the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act that includes $52 billion to expand U.S. semiconductor chip manufacturing capacity and construction of chipmaking plants.

Construction work today employs about 7.7 million people in the U.S. The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) organization estimates that the industry will need 590,000 new construction workers next year alone to meet the needs of the spending bills.

The infrastructure bill included $800 million for training, but it’s not enough, according to the National Skills Coalition (NSC). It wanted at least $40 billion to shore up the gap caused by past underinvestment, said Caroline Treschitta, policy analyst at NSC.

“We’ve seen continued disinvestment over the past 20 years at the federal level in workforce programs,” Treschitta said. “If we don’t have the skilled labor to fill those jobs, the investment is not going to go as far as it could.”

Construction work’s image problem
Attracting young people to construction jobs is also challenging.

“We’re a culture that doesn’t promote blue-collar jobs, quite frankly, and certainly not in construction,” said Peter Dyga, president and CEO of the ABC Florida East Coast Chapter. “We haven’t promoted these jobs in a long time.”

But Dyga sees changes in the national discussion and believes blue-collar jobs are getting more attention because, unlike with colleges and graduate programs, student debt “is not an issue with apprenticeship education.”

Training construction workers can begin with as little as eight to 12 weeks to provide students with the general knowledge and competencies, VCCS’ Stamper said. “Regardless of whether that’s building roads or building wind turbines, there are certain basic construction skills that anybody is going to need to have,” he said.

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