Learning from peers

18 March 2008

One of the greatest challenges facing SC&RA's company members is the recruitment of qualified personnel. The construction industry will require a million new workers in the next six years, and 2.4 million by 2014, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A 2005 study for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) forecast expansion and replacement hiring needs of 539,000 truck drivers over the next 10 years, or an average of about 54,000 drivers per year.

SC&RA believes more must be done to interest the nation's youth in careers within the specialized carrier and rigging industry. Establishing and publicizing a clear track for students coming into the industry is vital.

We aim to make the greatest impact by introducing jobs in the industry well before students leave high school. And the best spokespersons are industry members, who can communicate the bene?ts of trucking and construction careers with pride.

For the last four years, the SC&R Foundation has worked to make an impression in its own backyard. Assisted by United Crane & Rigging Company, of Baltimore, MD, the foundation has participated in the annual Educators' Day in the Workplace.

This full-day seminar and tour of business sites for educators in Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools, the nation's 12th largest school system, gives teachers, counselors, and administrators an opportunity to observe business sites firsthand and to interact with employees. Educators gain an understanding of the workplace so they can better prepare their students for a successful transition from school to work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Educators, as well as students, often seem intrigued when introduced to the types of challenges our members take on. They also are surprised to learn of the variety of jobs and opportunities available in the industry – as well as the salaries.

Consider, for example, a few of the average 2007 salaries reported by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association:

• Company president/CEO: $80,000 to $1.2 million

• Civil, traffic and structural engineers: $58,000 to $71,000

• Surveyor: $30,000 to $66,000

• Project manager: $34,000 to $160,000

• Foreman & superintendent: $35,000 to $114,000

• Estimator: $26,000 to $190,000

• Grader, dozer, scraper operator: $18,900 to $96,600

• Computer specialist: $30,000 to $115,000.

What about careers as a truck driver? In about two months, a high-school graduate who has completed truck driver training and passed a commercial drivers' license test can be gainfully employed as a long-haul driver with a high quality trucking company, making an entry-level salary of approximately $40,000 a year plus, according to ATA.

One of SC&RA's most important tools for explaining the industry itself is “Moving the World – No Other Industry Carries as Much Weight,” a 17½ minute DVD produced by the foundation. SC&RA worked with members from around the world to produce the footage of interesting and unusual jobs by the association's company members.

To reinforce the messages in the DVD, the foundation is putting the final touches on a brochure with follow-up information for students interested in a career in the industry. In accordance with the SC&RA 2006-2009 Strategic Plan, the association will continue to partner with the foundation to identify, develop and provide tools for members to use in skilled labor development, training and retention. Furthermore, we will identify programs and opportunities developed by other organizations and make them known to members.

But there is only so much the association can do. It is up to our members and other companies in our industry to work through public schools, technical and community colleges, or local chambers of commerce to educate local students on the potential opportunities for transportation or crane and rigging careers.

A number of companies already use information supplied by SC&RA to help recruit employees and educate future, potential employees. We encourage more of you to do so – and to share your success stories with us. For more information, contact Rebecca Page at [email protected].


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