A new Gould Construction Institute training model and our chapter’s growing efforts to address industry-wide workforce development challenges were among the issues discussed when more than 20 ABC Massachusetts leaders gathered last week at the beautiful Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire for a belated 2022 planning conference.

As the pace of change in the construction industry continues to accelerate, participants discussed a pilot program under which some apprentice training in the electrical trade will switch from evening to daytime this fall.  If successful, the pilot will be followed by similar programs in sheet metal and then other trades.

The change comes as more apprentices prefer daytime training over driving to class after a long and strenuous day of work, and difficulty recruiting part-time teachers has reached a breaking point due to high demand for construction services and the fact that teachers can earn far more in the field.  The new model would feature full-time teachers.

Participants also discussed workforce development issues and ABC’s Merit Apprentice Program.  Among the topics covered were the PACMAN program, under which a state grant funded three cohorts of pre-apprenticeship training, and another state grant that is funding a chapter-wide diversity survey, which you can take here.  The survey is also available in Haitian Creole, PortugueseSpanish, and Simplified Chinese.

How best to serve members was another topic, and participants discussed the potential for quarterly membership seminars with ABC staff and development of a professional development series.

Last but never least, there was a session on government affairs under the backdrop of an election year in which a new governor will replace Charlie Baker, who has been a good friend to our chapter.  

The conference, originally scheduled for last December, was twice postponed due to COVID concerns.