Press Release: 10.15.2015

Tackling a Workforce Shortage

The construction industry is facing a workforce shortage, not only with craft trade workers, but also on the management side. College graduates with Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) degrees usually graduate with multiple job offers on the table due to the shortage of qualified workers available, but companies still must train new employees due to their lack of hands-on experience in the industry. Many speculate that this issue may have been caused by the reduction of technical education programs in schools.

To combat this, industry professionals have recognized the need to introduce students to careers in ACE industries earlier and show that these are viable career options. Members of the McCarthy team have been an integral part of a growing national effort called the ACE Mentor Program with the mission to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction and engineering through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry. By integrating hands-on activities, tours, field trips and weekly interactions with various mentors from local industry firms, students get an insider’s perspective into the professional world of the construction and design industries. ACE offers four affiliates in the state of Texas: Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

The ACE-DFW affiliate launched in 2004 with 21 students at one school and has grown to more than 100 students in more than 15 area schools. At the beginning of the program, each student is surveyed to find out which area they are most interested in. They are then paired with students of similar interests and assigned mentors who can best educate them. The 22-week program splits students into groups and assigns projects focused on design, engineering, estimating, scheduling and construction skills. The program culminates with one final project that utilizes every method and tool they learned throughout the program. The students then present their work to a panel of judges, and the top three winning teams are awarded scholarships.

ACE-DFW also funds a scholarship program for students who choose a post-high school course of study leading to a career in the building industry. To date, the program has awarded $358,000 in scholarships. During one of the most recent ACE-DFW ceremonies, the organization delivered $38,000 in student scholarships and has delivered $48,000 in total this year.

Strengthening the local community and taking time to give back is at the heart of McCarthy’s culture. McCarthy’s ACE mentees gained firsthand experience and knowledge about the ins-and-outs of construction industry after working alongside employees on an array of top-tier projects. With “high school careers” on the rise, ACE is our industry’s outlet to mentor young students and provide on-the-job training. It is important for more ACE firms and owners to get involved in this program to help combat the craft workforce shortage as we train and recruit young local talent in our backyard. Providing internships and mentoring relationships helps the next generation of workers advance in their careers early on and ensures they are “workforce ready.”

Learn more about ACE Mentor Program of America.

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