Growth of the Building Industry

Construction - the building industry - has a high growth profile. Employment growth is projected to go from 6.9 million jobs in 2004 to 7.7 million by 2014, an additional 800,000 new jobs. These jobs include such skilled positions as electricians, carpenters and construction managers. The best part of building industry growth is that the salaries are higher than average for most other industries. The building industry also affords the opportunity for workers looking to ultimately own and run their own businesses.

Educators, guidance counselors, parents and students often are unfamiliar with the job variety and career ladders that the building industry offers. School guidance counselors especially need to become aware of the skill sets required for the occupations available in the construction trades. This lack of knowledge has contributed to a decline in the labor pool entering and remaining in the construction industry. The building industry has made great efforts to engage young people in their recruiting efforts. Non-traditional labor pools - including women - are also encouraged to join the industry in jobs usually thought of as male dominated.

The building industry offers a variety of opportunities for life-long careers. Individuals from backgrounds in management, truck driving, clerical positions, engineering, construction helpers and multiple trade workers are utilized in the construction industry. These are positions that are not always thought of when the building industry comes to mind. Academic skills in language, reading proficiency and math are needed to progress up the ladder. Technical training at vocational schools or apprenticeship programs in secondary schools provides a step forward in construction.

Many workers who have not been employed in construction need to improve skills that were previously adequate. College or technical courses may be required by the prospective employer. Depending on the need for such skills within the organization, some employers will provide incentive payments for the employee to complete such courses.

Entry level positions in the building industry include helpers, laborers or apprentices. Some entry level workers lack the skills needed to use the complex technology. Their additional knowledge of mechanical drawing, mathematics and woodworking boost their value to the company. Apprenticeship programs are part of on-the-job training provided by almost all construction companies. They are offered under the supervision of experienced craftsmen or in a formal classroom setting. Classes and training in safety procedures are required on a regular basis. Carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers and other trade specialists require several years of technical schooling, apprenticeship training or informal on-the-job experience to meet the qualifications.

The U.S. Department of Commerce named Nevada the state with the highest percentage of Gross Domestic Production in the construction industry. Their economic output was $10.7 billion in 2008. Construction was 8.1% of the state's economy that year. Second to Nevada was Wyoming with construction costing $2.2 billion making up 6.1% of the economy. Wyoming’s building industry has increased 10.16% annually since 2000. That makes up 0.4% of the entire construction in the United States.

The ETA announced their High Growth Job Training Initiative in 2003 to join businesses with local educators investing in systematically training employees with skills valuable to the industry. Community-Based Job Training Grants improved the ability of community colleges to provide flexible, accessible and affordable workforce education. The ETA invested over $260 million to support the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative.

Through this initiative regional leaders designed and implemented methods to improve economic development and job growth in the building industries. WIRED was concerned with creating skilled workers and high waged opportunities through economic and talent development. Federal agencies created skilled workers by joining education, business, state and local governments in order to meet the changing needs of the current economy.