New Workers are in Demand

Employers throughout the country are facing a growing problem: finding workers with the necessary education, training and skills to fill the jobs vacated by an ever-increasing number of retiring baby boomers.

This shortage of qualified workers— known as the “skills gap”—is a problem in Michigan, particularly in the construction industry, which is facing a deficit of carpenters, electricians and other skilled professionals.

“There is a need for trained workers right now,” asserted Cristy Lindemann, chair of the Construction Technology program at Washtenaw Community College. In fact, the construction industry will need an additional 1.7 million workers by the year 2020, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook report. “Qualified, skilled workers are needed to build schools, hospitals and homes; repair roads and bridges; and maintain existing facilities,” Lindemann explained. “Thousands of jobs across the United States and Canada are currently going unfilled— these are high-earning, skilled jobs that we can help fill.”

Many people incorrectly believe the construction industry offers poor working conditions, low pay and long hours. But today’s skilled professionals earn competitive wages and benefits and have access to various training and development opportunities to support their careers. They also have opportunities to advance into management positions or become future business owners.


The recent creation of an Ironworkers Pre-Apprenticeship Program at WCC is the result of an alliance between WCC faculty, the International Union, and Ironworkers Local 25, and aims to address the industry’s huge need for skilled workers.

Students who successfully complete the 24-credit program will be eligible for advanced standing in the Ironworker Local Union Apprenticeship Training Program.

Training includes blueprint reading, safety and welding processes in use by ironworkers. A combination of classroom and lab training at WCC provides results that come with real-world experience. The program also includes math, safety and welding training and will introduce students to the necessary skills to be a union ironworker in the United States and Canada.


The Construction Management program at Washtenaw Community College prepares students for either a job in the construction industry or a transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in construction management at a four-year college or university. The College works with The Washtenaw Contractor’s Association and the Building and Remodeling Association of Greater Ann Arbor to help graduates find employment. Students who transfer will continue developing the necessary skills to work as office, field, safety, project quality control engineering positions or a foreman, estimator, scheduler, expeditor, inspector, material representative, subcontractor, engineering/architectural firms, public agencies or trade associations.


The Residential Construction program at WCC teaches students how to build a home from the ground up. The program offers a balance of classroom theory and hands on training from faculty and instructors with many years of industry experience. Students will also learn how to start up their own construction business. This program also offers transfer to four-year colleges for several potential bachelor degrees options.

Learn more about these programs at: CONSTRUCTION.WCCNET.EDU

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.