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Labor Shortage: Kansas City Construction Industry Finds New Solutions


Labor Shortage: Kansas City Construction Industry Finds New Solutions


Commercial and residential construction across the nation are at an all-time high. With building booming, the labor shortage challenges only grow. Unemployment is at a historic low which makes it especially difficult for construction companies to find workers. This crunch is being felt especially hard in Kansas City.

The Beginning of Construct KC

Workforce Partnership of Kansas works to connect employers and employees in Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte Counties. They approached Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. Heart of America Chapter to develop and implement the critical training component to equip individuals leaving the Corrections system with the skills they need to be effective on a construction job site on day 1. The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA) also participated in the program, as ABC and HBA held hiring events for construction firms in the area to meet with and interview the students. The program, paired with six weeks of on the job training at the new employer equips individuals with the tools they need to continue on their path of success after leaving the department of corrections. The new resulting program is called ‘Construct KC.’

A Revolutionary Carpentry Program

Many view the Construct KC program as a revolutionary idea. According to the Kansas City Star, the program picks students from the local Johnson County Department of Corrections. The students are then required to complete a 6-week hands-on carpentry study curriculum where they learn about the construction trade. The program is designed to prepare the students to enter a trade of their choosing and provides stackable credentials that will form a career in a variety of carpentry positions.

Everyone Benefits from Construct KC

As the students participate in six weeks of in-class training, a hiring event is hosted. Students from the program attend to meet and connect with potential future employers. The Construct KC program is promising, not just for the participants who benefit by learning a skilled trade, but also for employers who want peace of mind knowing that they will be hiring skilled tradesmen who have been taught the basics of the construction industry and are eager to earn an opportunity to build a career. Such individuals will truly benefit their crews and help supplement the growing labor shortage. Undoubtedly, the program has proven to be a valuable asset for both students and employers.

“At ABC, we know the powerful opportunities that a career in construction can offer any individual. Our leadership has been thrilled to be a part of this innovative program that helps individuals train for high demand careers, transform their interests into marketable skills, and triumph in a new life that they have built,”  said Michele Roberts-Bauer, president of Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (Heart of America).

The Future of Construct KC is Promising

The Construct KC program and Workforce Partnership are thriving. Recently, Workforce Partnership acquired a grant that is earmarked for the program. Sloane Gage of the Workforce Partnership approached the group with an idea for a grant. Many work programs feature grants, but this one was the first of its kind for the organization that specifically targeted teaching on-the-job construction skills.

What to Expect From the Construct KC Program

Individuals picked for Construct KC’s program will experience six weeks of on the job training upon completing six weeks of rigorous in-class training with industry experts. Employers of the Construct KC participants will receive be reimbursed 50 percent of the new hire’s wages to help with the costs of the on-the-job training and students receive transportation assistance.

What Happens During the Program

During the program, participants will take a variety of carpentry classes including OSHA training that will give them the skills they need to become a part of the booming construction industry in Kansas City. Support from Workforce Partnership also focuses on creating a professional resume, interview skills, the importance of real teamwork and communication improvement. Students who participate will also receive a pair of boots and the necessary tools they need to head into the workforce once they have completed the program.

The Community of Kansas City Benefits

Overall, Construct KC is not just about training craft professionals to fill the needs of the construction industry but also about giving back to the community. The entire premise is that of a promising circle. The program trains individuals and provides them with a firm foundation to seek a respected position in the industry. The construction company that hires the new worker gets someone with a firm grasp of what the job entails. Construction companies and building crews are able to meet and exceed the demands of the jobs around Kansas City. Ultimately, the entire community of KC flourishes with the local trade set.

Click here to learn more about the skilled training programs at ABC (Heart of America).

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