According to Building Indiana, the US has been facing a shortage of construction-skilled laborers, and Indiana has felt the impact. The number of people prepared to work in the field has greatly diminished due to Millennials and Gen X’s gravitating towards the technology and healthcare sectors. Paired with an aging, retiring Baby Boomer generation, this labor deficit could cause a decline in the construction industry.  Now more than ever, outreach programs are essential to keep jobsites staffed in the future. 

Building Indiana confirms that Indiana was number two in the nation with the highest amount of apprenticeships with 3,342 students completing apprenticeship programs in 2017. 

Shiel Sexton is proud to support The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER), a not-for-profit organization that promotes the construction industry and aims to show that construction jobs can provide a stable, lucrative career. The program accommodates individuals with no experience in construction. Applicants can range from high school students age 18 and up, ex-offenders, or those looking for an industry change. Through several courses, individuals learn the construction fundamentals of hand tools, soft skills (written, verbal communication, email, text), power tools, and construction math. Students can also complete the OSHA 10 safety certification program, which is a highly marketable asset for those seeking construction employment. At the end of the program, students attend a job fair to hand out resumes and network with potential employers.

The program totals 72-80 hours including 16 hours of “lab” time for hands-on experience combined with classroom-style sessions eight hours per week. Classes are held throughout the Indianapolis region at adult education facilities and community centers. The certification is recognized nationwide, meaning the skills learned throughout the program are entirely transferable throughout the United States. 

The Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation administers the program free to applicants through grants federal or state or non-profits. The program takes place in central Indiana for right now, but classes will span the entire state of Indiana by next year.

On March 19th, Shiel Sexton presented to the next graduating class. General Superintendent Steve Jansen, Project Engineer Joe Zeltwanger, and Project Manager John Schlagenhauf were available to answer students’ questions about construction management, Shiel Sexton projects, and company culture.

John is one of four certified trainers that will teach courses for Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation. His first class as an instructor began on April 16th and will continue every Tuesday and Thursday for ten weeks. Each class averages 20 students. 

John gives an example of why this program is important to the community,

“A young guy was interested in the program to make more money for his growing family of four. His goal was to become an electrician, but first, he needed education and trade skills. He had a strong motivation, already working two jobs to provide for his family. He completed the program, attended the job fair, and scored an interview with a big company. He was eventually hired on!”

The NCCER program opens the door to many people in need of marketable skills in a field desperate for retainable employees. No matter past decisions or lack of experience, each applicant can get a fresh start to shaping their future.