As featured in April 2019 Accelerate Issue: Mark Hansen
Superintendent, Elmbrook School District
The Waukesha County Business Alliance has launched the Construction Alliance, a platform for construction and skilled trades companies to share ideas, encourage innovation and target new talent.
The Construction Alliance initially formed as a committee to address the labor shortage in the construction industry. The industry was hit particularly hard in terms of labor during the Great Recession, and its workforce is not bouncing back as quickly as other industries. The lack of labor drives up construction costs, which in turn raises the prices of homes, commercial buildings, repair services and more. In a survey the Alliance conducted in 2017, 87 percent of construction/skilled trades companies indicated having difficulty attracting and/or retaining employees.
The Construction Alliance grew to encompass other industry needs, such as human resources roundtable discussions and other best practice sharing sessions, in addition to targeting new talent for the industry.
We’ve heard from our member construction companies that the Construction Alliance is an important development for the industry in southeast Wisconsin. There’s no other place quite like the Construction Alliance where such a broad variety of perspectives is brought together to grapple with the problems the industry is facing as a whole.
Here are some programs of the Construction Alliance:
• Construction Executive Council – The Construction Executive Council is comprised of construction and skilled trades leaders who set the strategic direction for the Construction Alliance. This group meets quarterly.
• HREx Program Series – HR Excellence (HREx) programs give construction HR professionals the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker, participate in facilitated roundtable discussions and share best practices on issues relating to safety, quality improvement, workforce development, security and more. This group meets four times per year. • Kids Building Wisconsin – Kids Building Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that hosts construction career expos in Madison and Waukesha. Middle school students participate in interactive activities run by construction and skilled trades companies to learn about careers in the industry. More than 800 students attended the first Kids Building Wisconsin – Waukesha Expo on January 24, 2019.
• Careers Uncovered – Careers Uncovered helps Waukesha County educators learn more about career pathways. Educators tour a local company, have a roundtable discussion with company leadership and put together an action plan to improve the academic and career planning process for their students.
• The Construction Alliance is also forming strategic partnerships with other organizations such as Mindful Staffing and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce to help people enter or re-enter the workforce.
• The Construction Alliance continues to support Waukesha County Technical College with dual enrollment and youth apprenticeship opportunities while also collaborating with NARI Milwaukee and the Metropolitan Builders Association on the specific needs of the industry.
The Construction Alliance is modeled after our Manufacturing Alliance, which was formed in 2010.The Manufacturing Alliance serves as a platform for manufacturers to share ideas, encourage innovation, transform the image of manufacturing and target talent. We are also working on building a health care collaborative.
Learn more at waukesha.org/construction.
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