By: Ken Kraemer
Everywhere you look, there are construction projects underway or being planned in our area. After many years of a significant recession, we are finally in a place where there is secure work for our contractors and trades members. From the Northwestern Mutual Towers, to the new Bucks arena downtown and its planned ancillary development, along with the Couture, I am very confident that the construction industry here in Southeast Wisconsin will be booming for years to come.
My top priority is making sure that there is plenty of work for Building Advantage members. With the help of labor and management, and the organizations that represent them like the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee, the Plumbing, Mechanical and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, the National Electrical Contractors Association, the Allied Construction Employers Association, and the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, we continue to be successful in recruiting and training our future workforce.
A good example of this is that in 2009, Plumbers Local 75 reported training only two apprentices. In 2014, their numbers swelled to 37. In 2016, they had 63 people eligible to begin their apprenticeship and 22 of those are City residents, with 11 already being Residents Preference Program certified. This is becoming standard operating procedure in the union construction industry. These numbers are encouraging, but we still have work to do. It’s important to note that our apprenticeship numbers are growing significantly and this can be attributed to outreach efforts from both labor and management, and our great apprenticeship training programs.
Now that we have secured work for years to come, it is even more important for you to share your story – to show how the union construction industry has benefited you, your career, and your family. If everyone helped recruit at least one person, our workforce would be solvent for years to come, which will continue to grow our industry, and provide more work for all of us.
I am confident that Building Advantage members will continue recruiting and training the highest quality workforce to build these great projects that contribute to our communities.