Four Elements of Workforce Development

four-elements-revised.gifOver the next five years, and particularly along the U.S. Gulf Coast, the demand for skilled industrial construction craft professionals is expected to exceed the current supply by a significant margin. In states like Louisiana, major public-private partnerships have been created to determine the extent of the demand/supply deficit and develop programs to address career awareness and recruiting, training capacity, craft professional retention, and training program delivery. Industrial construction associations and individual contractors are engaged in the Louisiana efforts and similar efforts across the United States.

We encourage our clients to develop a comprehensive and systematic approach to developing a workforce that is adequate in numbers and skill level. Doing so requires attention to four specific elements:

1. Forecasting

  • Accurately forecasting demand for specifically skilled workers
  • Accurately forecasting supply of specifically skilled workers
  • Developing a clear picture of the delta between the two

2. Career Awareness and Recruiting

  • General career awareness specific to create interest
  • Targeted recruiting based on specific forecast

3. Training

  • Training in rigorous, accredited, industry-based certificate-bearing programs
  • Skill upgrade programs for incumbent workers

4. Employing

  • Systematic process to move individuals directly from training to careers


1. Forecasting

A number of tools exist to assist industries in forecasting the demand and existing supply of workers. In the construction industry, the state-of-the-art tool is the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) Construction Labor Market Analyzer® (CLMA®). The CLMA is a powerful, easy-to-use tool that produces actionable, real-time craft labor market intelligence for any area of the United States. It enables current and early project workforce planning in a new and unique way so that you can more effectively manage your project labor risk.

So what’s different? Before, craft labor outlook data was questionable and expensive. Now the CLMA provides instant labor market clarity enabling detailed project and human resource planning at reasonable cost. The CLMA allows for granularity in forecasting down to the zip code level.

For instance, it can provide information on the supply of pipefitters in a particular region and the upcoming demand in that region. Recruiting and training plans can then be targeted and specific based on the accurate forecast.

As the national economy rebounds and low natural gas prices drive an unprecedented level of investment announcements in the petrochemical industry along the Gulf Coast, the CLMA predicts that as many as 2 million new workers will be needed to meet demand over the next three to five years. 

2. Career Awareness and Recruiting

Career awareness programs are becoming more critical. As competition increases for the shrinking under-25-year-olddemographic, every industry, from construction to aerospace, must differentiate itself in order to recruit new workers. Career paths are critical tools to clearly explain the options and career growth opportunities each industry can provide.

Several industry groups and associations, including IEC, are increasing efforts to recruit and train the next generation of craft professionals. This includes reaching students in secondary schools and job training programs. These construction industry groups aim to narrow the skills gap thr