To help address the technician shortage and to develop new ways to tackle the challenges facing the construction equipment industry, The AED Foundation recently established a Workforce Development Committee. The mission of the committee is to provide leadership and direction to address the critical shortage of skilled professionals in the construction equipment industry and to strengthen industry engagement to further develop best practices to improve workforce-related challenges.
“The goal for this committee is to get results for the industry and to provide support and guidance for the new programs The AED Foundation is embarking on to address the workforce challenges that exist,” said Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of AED and president of The AED Foundation.
“While we cannot solve these challenges overnight, this committee will play an integral role in fighting for policies that will help the industry over the long term.”
Committee objectives include making recommendations on national workforce issues impacting the industry, acting as a support arm of The AED Foundation during the exploratory phase of the IRAP (Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program) initiative, identifying ways to engage nontraditional populations in solving the technician shortage, developing new strategies to build a pipeline for the industry’s future workforce, making recommendations to The AED Foundation in honoring the commitment to the Pledge to America’s Workers initiative (which will entail training and retraining 10,000 individuals over the next five years), and making recommendations to the Foundation’s board of directors about ideas for future research reports.
“The AED Foundation is working on several initiatives aimed at moving the workforce development discussion to the next level, and this committee will provide us with the much-needed extra bandwidth and expertise to ensure we are meeting the needs of the industry,” said Jason Blake, executive vice president and COO of The AED Foundation. “I envision committee members representing The AED Foundation in an official capacity at task force meetings for future school accreditation efforts and other workforce-related events across North America.”
As The AED Foundation’s School Partnership Program continues to expand, committee members can serve an important role in helping to facilitate that growth. In some instances, connecting the right educational partners has led to success, as was the case in recognizing the Diesel Technology Program at Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) in Pennsylvania. At a meeting of the Delaware Valley Associated Equipment Distributors (DVAED), Jeff Tulish, Philadelphia branch manager at Stephenson Equipment Inc., connected Jim Mack (BCTC) with Justin Beishline (Pennsylvania College of Technology), which ultimately led to AED Foundation recognition for the program at BCTC.
“Creating more awareness about the opportunities in this industry and the work AED and The AED Foundation are doing is vital,” Tulish said. “I’m excited to be a part of this committee to help in this effort and look forward to more success stories like what happened at BCTC.”
In 2018, The AED Foundation started a partnership with the Manufacturing Institute on their newly launched Heroes MAKE America Program, designed to help military veterans transition into civilian careers. Through this partnership, the Foundation is raising awareness about careers in the construction equipment industry and plans to use this committee to help spread the word to AED members about opportunities to partner with the Heroes program, from hosting a tour of their facilities to attending networking events to interacting with transitioning veterans and even performing on-the-spot job interviews.
“Many veterans have a skill set that makes a transition to the construction equipment industry logical, and we want to ensure that they are aware of the job opportunities that exist,” said Cory Hayes, vice president of business development at The AED Foundation. “We look forward to working with our Heroes partners and committee members to strengthen veteran recruitment among AED members.”
The plan is for the committee to meet on a quarterly basis: at AED’s Summit and at the Washington Fly-In, in addition to conference calls throughout the year.
If you’re interested in joining the Workforce Development Committee or would like more information, please contact Marty McCormack, The AED Foundation’s associate director of development and workforce, at firstname.lastname@example.org