Training to Retain: Finding Solutions to Skilled Labor Shortage

Welder working at Mt. Storm


According to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), as of February 2023, the industry will need to recruit an estimated 546,000 skilled construction workers in order to meet the demand for labor. With the current aging workforce, and fewer people interested in skilled trades, there is a growing need for workforce development programs and outreach informing people about the potential of a career in skilled trades.


Sundt has several avenues for development in these skills. Our craft training and apprenticeship programs use NCCER’s curriculum in heavy equipment operation, industrial carpentry and pipefitting. We also partner with Central Arizona College to encourage more students toward a career in skilled trades.

“There’s a lack of good welders. If someone shows interest in learning, we should take the opportunity to invest in their training and demonstrate how they can build their career.”—Raymond Walker, Project Quality Manager

Many Sundt jobsites individually provide training to our craft workforce when the need arises, which is the case at one of our projects in a rural area of West Virginia.

“A majority of our workforce on site was interested in welding, and they asked if they could practice and learn the skill on their own time,” said Raymond Walker, Project Quality Manager for the project in West Virginia. “Our goal is to train our existing workforce to create more skilled craft for the industry and, hopefully, to retain them for more Sundt projects in the region.”

Project Manager Brian McCloud helped the team achieve this goal with his support and didn’t hesitate when Raymond brought the idea to the table. The training began on site with an informal signup sheet in the lunch room; within three hours, there were 36 signups out of 82 craft employees on site. “We could only select five people for the first training, ” said Raymond. “However, the interest in the program was an example of how accessible training is important to our craft workforce.”

“Sundt has taught me many new skills in my first nine months, especially with the welding program. I’d like to continue training and learning with Sundt.”—Omar Rodriguez, Ironworker-Welder

With the support of Sundt’s craft workforce development team, the instructors were supplied with NCCER books for the trainings, and students volunteer an extra hour of their day to participate in the program. The course is three weeks long and begins with the basics, including an emphasis on safety. Then, the program progresses to the booth, where students learn material and welding procedures. Once they complete and pass their test, students become certified welders.

Along with instructors, Raymond also provided an English to Spanish translator, allowing the class to be available to all people on site.  The project team was able to help three participants receive their welding certification in the first round of the program. “We’ve invested in our employee-owners, which is what we strive for daily as one family.”

Welder working at Mt. Storm

Omar Rodriguez is an Ironworker-Welder on site and has worked with Sundt for just under a year. He was one of the first to complete the welding program. “I loved the class and learned a lot, especially QC techniques. I’d love to participate in the class in the future as a teacher and help my coworkers enhance their skills.”

Training programs and apprenticeships are integral to the success of the industry and increase the quality of life for our people in the field performing work. “One of the participants in our program raised their hourly wage 6% overnight,” said Raymond. “It brought about huge change for their family.”

Learn more about opportunities with Sundt on our careers page.