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Construction worker shortage, $1 trillion infrastructure plan, prompt skilled trades training program for students in Michigan

  • Joanna
  • December 21, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, December 21, 2016 – Members of Congress who are already debating about how to fund President-elect Donald Trump’s $1 trillion plan to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels and airports may be missing an even bigger part of the picture.

The question isn’t “who is going to pay for it?” Rather, it’s “who is going to build it?”

That’s because there’s already a significant shortage of construction workers in the United States, with the ratio of job openings to hiring at a 10-year high, according to the Department of Labor.

And that’s why leaders from Associated Builders and Contractors in Michigan are excited to be offering their organization’s assistance for a new program that will help high school students across the state earn an industry-recognized credential in skilled trades, the National Center for Construction Education and Research Core Certification.

“High school curriculum tends to emphasize four-year academic opportunities,” said Norm Brady, the president of ABC’s Western Michigan Chapter. “There’s nothing wrong with a university education, but we’re in dire need of more people with instruction in the skilled trades, and that’s what this initiative seeks to produce.”

The certification coursework is being offered free-of-charge to any student enrolled in one of Graduation Alliance’s more than 50 high school diploma completion programs across the state. The programs, which are facilitated online in partnership with local school districts, are aimed at students who have previously struggled in a traditional school setting.

“We’ve had tremendous success helping these young men and women overcome the obstacles they’re facing to reach their graduation goals,” Graduation Alliance CEO Ron Klausner said. “The next step is to make sure they’re ready to enter the workforce and really hit the ground running.”

Already, Graduation Alliance offers its students certification courses in employability skills and digital literacy, both of which are offered completely online. To award a construction skills certification through NCCER, students must demonstrate mastery using hand tools and power tools.

That’s where ABC came in. Its members will train and evaluate students in the hands-on tools unit.

“Graduation Alliance is the expert in online education for struggling students, and we’re the experts in safe and effective craft training,” Brady said. “So what we have here is a country in need, a group of students eager to respond, and two community partners who can make it happen.”

About Graduation Alliance

Graduation Alliance strengthens communities, states and the economy by preparing and empowering tomorrow’s workforce. Through highly effective postsecondary planning, alternative education and training programs, Graduation Alliance ensures every student has an opportunity to succeed during and after high school. For more information about Graduation Alliance, visit

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