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Let’s Not Be Maryland: Working Together Now Prevents Bigger Problems Later

December 19th, 2019 | Published by NEW Construction Alliance

A recent story out of the state of Maryland illustrates well the urgency in addressing Northeast Wisconsin’s growing construction workforce shortage now rather than later.

According to the story, “Some construction projects in Maryland are costing tens of millions of dollars more than original estimates, in large measure because of a lack of skilled trades in the region.”

In fact, the story discloses that the industry workforce shortage has driven up the cost of two major projects at the University of Maryland by $64 million. Documentation supporting the higher cost stated that the increase was due to “issues within the construction industry.”Those issues include,“A high demand for and low supply of skilled workers.”

As a result, the Board of Public Works tabled the vote on the additional funds. Reflecting on the situation Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford said during the board meeting, “I would like to see more students in Maryland be exposed to apprenticeships and skills training opportunities, so they are aware of all of their options for employment.”

The Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation (MCCEI) is a state-wide organization founded in 2011 with a similar mission and scope to the NEW Construction Alliance.

“It was about 2014 when the labor shortages started appearing, first in the D.C. submarkets, then in Baltimore a couple years later, then fairly prevalent throughout the state now,” stated Bob Aydukovic, president of MCCEI. Despite these early warning signs, the industry was not able to mobilize effectively to prepare for coming wave.

Rutherford said the growing problem has created a renewed sense of urgency to return the trades bask into schools, “One of the things that we’ve been working at, the last couple of years, particularly with one of the local school districts, is getting the trades back into these local schools.”

This highlights the importance of our mission in Northeast Wisconsin and growing our membership to effectively address this concerning trend.

You can read the entire story here.

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