Construction is booming in Nashville. If there is any doubt, simply look at the Nashville Business Journal’s “Crane Watch.” Construction of smart buildings are also easier now thanks to the advancements in technology. One of them is Digital twins for cities that helps builders design and conceptualize large-scale projects.
Despite vast amount of new construction, contractors continue to struggle to find sufficient numbers of well-trained craftsman to complete this work. With the implementation of Tennessee’s lottery and Tennessee Promise scholarships, many high school graduates are eschewing careers in the construction industry. In fact, for every five skilled tradesmen who are set to retire, the construction industry is only able to recruit one new worker from education, training and apprenticeship programs. But fear not, following several years of work by local trade associations, such as the Associated General Contractors and Associated Builders and Contractors, Tennessee’s construction workforce may soon see employment numbers rise.
In June 2015, Governor Haslam signed legislation creating Go Build Tennessee, a state program that uses excess revenue collected by the Board of Licensing Contractors to recruit high school and college students to careers in the construction industry. On May 18, 2016, the governor formally launched Go Build Tennessee, after a year of preparation. Although Go Build Tennessee does not create any new educational or training programs on its own, the initiative promotes existing programs and attempts to make it easier for individuals considering a career in the skilled trades to locate and obtain positions in the industry. Following the lead of similar programs in Alabama and Georgia, the program will utilize multimedia advertising, media campaigns and a dedicated website, administered by a nonprofit organization composed of the major Tennessee trade associations. Mike Rowe, host of “Dirty Jobs,” is a frequent contributor for Go Build Alabama.
Although the results of the program remain to be seen in Tennessee, the construction industry is optimistic based on the experience of our southerly neighbors. So Go Build Tennessee! And if your employment increases, Go Build Alabama and Georgia too.