Those who do can sometimes teach. Sundt is fortunate to have skilled craft workers who, as instructors, are helping us bridge a growing trades gap.
Craft Training Instructors Josue Ponce and Darry Welker are helping further the careers of current and potential craft workers. Construction jobs that vanished during the recession have come back strong but with fewer skilled candidates to fill them. The industry expects to have a shortfall of two million craft workers by 2020.
“At the end of the day we are a construction company with huge demands for labor now and into the future coupled with a dire need for skilled help,” Darry said. “We need to train because the skilled help is just not out there.”
Josue teaches welding and pipefitting at least twice a week at our Center for Craft Excellence. He started as a welder’s helper in 1997 after high school and later joined the Associated Builders and Contractors Plumbing Apprenticeship, going to school every day after work. He worked his way up from Foreman to General Foreman. In 2012, he earned his Certified Welding Inspectors License and became a Quality Manager. Last year, he became an instructor.
Darry is teaching heavy equipment operation students at Central Arizona College, where Sundt has certificate and apprenticeship programs. Darry started as a laborer for a residential framer in 1995 after he graduated from high school. He stayed in the residential sector until 2000 before joining a dirt contractor in Kansas City as a laborer. He worked his way up to Foreman before moving to Arizona and joining Sundt in 2004. He was a Superintendent with our Transportation Group until 2014 before moving to Preconstruction and eventually becoming a trainer in December 2016.
“I think trained employees are happier and produce more,” Josue said. “If you show you are willing to invest time and money in your workers that goes a long way. A trained employee produces more and has the knowledge to help others around him/her grow.”
With the average craft worker in his or her late 40s, our company’s training focuses heavily on recruiting and retention. Having talented, experienced instructors like Darry and Josue on staff ensures that our employee-owners are being trained the right way.
“The industry has awakened to realize we have a skilled labor shortage and the norm going forward will be a craft training culture,” Darry said.
As new craft employees enter the workforce, construction companies will need to provide more in-house training opportunities.
“I believe career options are great and only getting better,” Josue said. “There are different areas where a trainer can move up and there are also a lot of specific specialized areas a trainer can focus on.”
For more information about a career with Sundt, please visit http://www.sundt.com/careers.