GetMassWorking.org is an organization dedicated to solving the trade labor shortage crisis in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by reforming existing laws and regulations and expanding trades training and licensing opportunities.

With 30% of licensees approaching retirement age in the next 5-7 years and with each Journeyman or Master tradesperson only able to train 1 apprentice every 5 years on average, it is mathematically impossible to replace retiring licensees at a fast enough rate to support the increasing demand for licensed tradespeople.

Currently, and as a result of this shortage, graduating vocational students in Massachusetts, who are expecting to become apprentices, are unable to be matched with licensed counterparts. Every year fewer and fewer of those qualified to apprentice, are actually able to find an apprenticeship. Even though the government has made vocational training a priority and funneled millions of dollars into education and training, they have failed to balance the other side of the equation with common sense licensing that gets people working. We aim to change this.

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HVAC

Plumbers

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Recent news

College vs A Trade: You Can Do Both

Many people in the trades express admiration for the trade apprenticeship programs in Germany and some other European countries. As this article points out, whereas in Germany some 60% of young people train as apprentices in various skilled trades, the comparable number in America is only 5%. That’s a stark difference, yet upon closer examination I’m not sure the German system would be all that well received in the U.S. German youths get tested and evaluated for skills at an early age, sometimes as young as 10. Those with superior academic performance get assigned to college preparatory high schools and classes while those lacking in academic ability or interest get assigned to a trade apprenticeship that typically combines classroom study with hands-on work. Although it is possible for Germans to reverse course later in life, it’s not as easy as here in the U.S. A problem I have with the German system is that it pigeonholes people too early. Some students are late bloomers academically, while others who show academic talent may also be mechanically inclined and prefer to work with tools. How many teenagers really know what they want to do with their lives? How many change their mind a few years after high school or even college graduation? Here in the U.S., it’s not unusual to find trade workers who are college dropouts or even graduates. Many have decided that the college payoff isn’t worthwhile either economically or in job satisfaction. An old saying goes, “If you enjoy what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you’re bored with academics and prefer to spend your days working with tools, a trade career beckons. Read More at https://explorethetrades.org/2019/04/04/college-vs-a-trade-you-can-do-both/

FMI 2019 AGC/FMI Risk Management Survey

RALEIGH, N.C. – FMI Corporation, the leading provider of management consulting and investment banking services to engineering and construction, infrastructure and the built environment, is pleased to announce the release of the latest AGC/FMI survey of the risk environment in the construction industry. This year’s study results indicate changes in the engineering and construction risk environment over the last three years and provide important data points regarding future risk management trends. All information is based on responses from best-in-class companies that are active in AGC’s Surety Bonding and Construction Risk Management Forum. The most significant current risks that the survey identifies are: Limited supply of skilled craftworkers (80%) Limited supply of field supervisors (44%) Changes in construction contract and insurance policy terms and conditions (33%) Tighter project schedules (30%) Increasing project complexity (19%) And the most significant future risks include: Economy slowdown (58%) Limited supply of field supervisors (46%) Strategic agility, broadly defined as comfort with changing technologies and processes (39%) New company leadership/ownership (36%) Increasing project size and complexity (29%) The 2019 report outlines these risks and then digs into the strategies that contractors have identified for recession-proofing their organizations. While contractors continue to consider an economic slowdown to be a future and not a current risk, AGC and FMI have seen the number of contractors in that category increase from 8% to 58% over the last three years. Read More at https://www.fminet.com/news/2019/03/21/fmi-releases-2019-agc-fmi-risk-management-survey/

Maine facing skilled worker shortage

PORTLAND (WGME) – One of the trade fields experiencing the biggest backlog for customers in Maine is plumbing, heating and cooling technicians. One program in high school, one in college; both have been bringing in new teachers to address a literal pipeline problem, people can't find a plumber. "Every place around here says, 'three or more weeks,' even if some of it is just basic plumbing jobs," P.A.T.H.S. Plumbing, HVAC Teacher Paul Chapin said. At the plumbing and HVAC program at Portland Arts and Technology High School, teacher Paul Chapin is hoping his training takes students to new heights in their careers. "There's just such a huge call for HVAC technicians; plumbers as well," Chapin said. The HVAC and plumbing fields are both dealing in energy, fluid movement and black iron pipe, but also needing training and certification in things like a scissor lift. "You never know what you're going to be doing,” Chapin said. “Every day is something different. I've seen parts of Portland where people have lived their whole lives that they will never see. I've been on rooftops on beautiful days. You walk up to a piece of equipment that didn't work when you got there and when you leave it's working. It's a good feeling." That tangible sense of accomplishment is one of the best parts of the job, Chapin says, which is why he was initially reluctant to leave the private sector to become a teacher. Chapin is only graduating 14 seniors in his 2-year program this year, and he says students from the 19 sending schools in southern Maine aren't always aware of the program. Read more at https://wgme.com/news/working-solutions/maine-facing-shortage-of-plumbing-hvac-technicians

Make Six Figures: Become a Plumber

Mike Rowe wants you to picture something. So envision, if you will, a skilled tradesperson. A construction worker, maybe. Or the guy who comes to fix your dishwasher when it’s leaking dirty water and stinking to high heaven. What does he look like, this blue collar worker you’ve fabricated? Is he smart and capable? Or hapless, and kind of simple-minded, like an extra in a sitcom? “If you see a plumber on TV, he’s going to be 300 pounds with a giant butt crack,” Rowe says. The former Dirty Jobs host has, not surprisingly, met a lot of plumbers in his day. “And none of them look like that,” he says. “They’re actually pretty fit, and pretty smart, and most of them are making six figures a year.” There’s a larger point here. The talent pool for skilled laborers is shrinking — a consequence of the growing mismatch between U.S. job seekers and the record number of open positions they need to fill. This so-called “skills gap” spans industries: In a recent PWC survey of CEOs, the “availability of key skills” was listed as a “top threat” for companies globally. But as the demand for new infrastructure increases, misconceptions about the people who build and repair the places we live and work are draining a labor force we all depend on, Rowe says. “We’ve marginalized an entire category of work,” he says. “And we just don’t appreciate the opportunities that are out there.” Rowe has been making this argument for over a decade. As the face of Dirty Jobs, a Discovery Channel reality show (later rebranded by CNN as Somebody’s Gotta Do It), he chronicled the lives of blue collar workers throughout the country. During production, Rowe says he was struck by how many companies were struggling to find employees. He launched mikeroweWORKS in 2008, a nonprofit organization that links students interested in learning a skilled trade with scholarships and job opportunities. But since then, the skills gap outlook has only gotten drearier. A scant 9% of high school students plan to pursue a career in the trades, according to a 2018 survey from Wolverine, a footwear company and mikeroweWORKs partner. To blame, Rowe says, is a fundamental misunderstanding about what makes a job “good.” Parents and educators, motivated to provide opportunities for young people, have long pushed college as the best path to a worthwhile career. Now student loan debt is at an all-time high, and early skills-based learning—once a staple in high school shop classes—is disappearing from public schools. “Parents want something better for their kids than they had, but we don’t really know what ‘better’ means,” Rowe says. “Nobody has ever suffered from learning how to weld, learning how to run electric, how to lay pipe. But crushing debt and a lack of skill could derail your career before it gets started.” Read More at https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dirty-jobs-star-mike-rowe-153411880.html

More licensed trades means better quality work and improved safety

With licensed trades, you know the quality of work you will be getting because it is backed up by years of mandated training, testing and experience. Without enough licensed trades, employers and consumers are turning to unlicensed workers who aren’t qualified or don’t have the skills needed. This translates to poor quality work and risks the safety of everyone.

How this crisis is affecting our community

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