One of the few common denominators that we all face as contractors is the need for a skilled workforce. Unfortunately, our labor force is the one area of our business that we spend very little time developing. We all know that recruiting and training a mason can't be accomplished simply by throwing money at it; it takes our active participation and commitment. The biggest thing that it needs from us is our time ... granted, which we never seem to have enough of as business owners.
Recognizing that fact, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) has focused a great deal of its attention and resources on developing our future labor force and motivating contractors to become involved in hiring and training the future workforce.
Two events that have had success in this effort are MCAA's International Masonry Skills Challenge and the Fastest Trowel on the Block competitions. Both national events focus our industry's attention on training our number one resource: our workforce.
For years, our Association has been developing nation-wide interest in events such as the Masonry Skills Challenge, where our local, regional and state affiliates conduct apprentice contests to determine who will represent their regions at the national competition. These local and national competitions get contractors interested in apprentice training. At every national contest, held during the MCAA Masonry Showcase, I hear contractors talking about participating in their local contests or even starting a local contest themselves. We have seen a steady growth in the development of local contests all across the United States and Canada. Clearly our contests have had a favorable impact in stimulating interest in workforce development.
A decade ago, interest in training was low. Contractors looked to others, such as the union or suppliers, to help provide training. Today, through the efforts of our skills contests and our focus on high school career initiatives, interest is on the rise and our industry contractors are taking the lead in training.
Watching our nation's finest apprentices and journeymen compete in our national contests is contagious. In this issue of Masonry, Kate Parrott, assistant editor, writes about MCAA's skills events and the success that they have had in building our labor force (see page 20). I urge you to read the feature to find out more about the two premiere events that are sponsored by the MCAA.
I urge you to get active with the MCAA's International Masonry Skills Challenge and Fastest Trowel on the Block contests. Also, come watch the national contests at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Feb. 23 and 24. Once you do, we think that you will be hooked and excited about getting in the game of training for our future.
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