To wrap up this year’s National Employee-ownership Month, we turn our focus to the future of construction. At Sundt, employee-ownership is not just about building prosperity for our clients, ourselves, and our communities; it’s also about developing tomorrow’s workforce. This is why Sundt invests in our current craft professionals and—just as importantly—teaches younger generations the skills they’ll need for careers in construction.
Sundt employee-owner Austin Nalwood is a Craft Instructor at the Sundt Center for Craft Excellence and also serves as an adjunct professor with Central Arizona College’s (CAC’s) construction program. As part of his role, Austin teaches an after-hours carpentry class for Sundt craft professionals looking to expand their skillsets. His current students, employee-owners selected for Sundt’s first carpentry apprenticeship program, recently became teachers in their own right. Earlier this month at CAC’s campus in Coolidge, Arizona, these employee-owners taught visiting high school students a few skills of their trade.
“There’s always been a teaching aspect in construction,” said Austin, when asked if he ever pictured himself working in an educational role. “Even before I was a craft trainer with Sundt, my crew and I would always be taking young people under our wing, passing down our skills to them. But now our industry has a big skills gap to fill, and we need bigger solutions. That’s where Sundt’s craft workforce training comes in, as well as our partnership with CAC. For me, that’s what being a Sundt employee-owner is all about.”
Sundt is part of a national effort alongside 30 of the largest contractors, the Association of General Contractors (AGC), and NCCER to address the industry’s craft workforce shortage (projected to reach 2 million+ vacancies by next year). This includes an industry branding refresh, workforce pipeline development, and education strategy. Also, Sundt’s partnership with CAC is fast becoming a national model for workforce development.