As a result of long production times, supply chain challenges and soaring materials costs, the construction industry is facing challenges as the region experiences a construction boom. This is compounded by the labor shortage the industry is experiencing as a result of workers leaving the industry during the pandemic. To fill the need for labor, construction companies like Skanska are creating training and mentorship programs that support maintaining a strong labor pool. This is particularly important in Florida where construction activity continues to rebound and the need for workers increases.
To help address the need for skilled labor in construction, Skanska developed a mentorship program in collaboration with one of its biggest clients in Tampa, the University of South Florida. This eight-week program will provide subcontractors with training, development, and partnership opportunities to help companies in the Tampa Bay Region grow and become more successful with competitive bidding processes.
Bob Kramer, a Skanska USA Vice President – Account Manager on the Lee Memorial Gulf Coast Medical Center expansion and renovations project, collaborated with the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center, a learning facility for entrepreneurial enterprises, to create another construction training and mentorship program in Fort Myers that was first launched in 2017 to help fill the need for additional labor in this part of the state. The program has proven successful over the past four years and was recently expanded to support high schoolers seeking to enter the construction industry.
To help fill jobs on the massive hospital project in Fort Myers, Bob worked with the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center and some of Skanska’s subcontractors to develop “The Pre-Construction Readiness Program.” The free program consists of 2-3 classes a week over a two-month period that educates participants on main building skills and construction safety to help prepare them to seek entry-level jobs in construction.
It started as an effort to help locals in the Fort Myers community earn jobs in the active construction industry and has since expanded into a partnership with the Lee County School District, which has adopted the program in support of skilled labor and invites graduating high school seniors to pursue opportunities in the construction trade. Here’s a recent interview with Bob discussing the program’s extension into high schools.
As a leader in the construction industry, Skanska is the latest example of how the private and public sectors can team up to find effective solutions that support the construction industry and bring economic opportunities to residents in our community.