Apprenticeships are a key part of Associated Builders and Contractors’ commitment to an all-of-the-above approach for developing a safe, skilled and productive workforce that meets the current and future needs of the construction industry. During the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 8-14, ABC celebrates the value of earn-while-you-learn opportunities for women, minorities, veterans, students, non-graduates and people laid off during the pandemic or seeking new careers, re-entry to the workforce or a second chance.

“Recruiting, educating and upskilling our workforce is a strategic goal for ABC, and an essential component of supporting our most important asset—our people,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “Apprenticeships are a key part of the education contractor members provide to their employees to ensure the industry is continually adapting, innovating and ready to get to work. From schools and skyscrapers to hospitals and data centers, ABC builds the people who build America.”

Despite the economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 recession, 40% of ABC member contractors are hiring, according to the latest ABC Construction Confidence Index. Although many construction projects were paused or canceled as the recession reverberated through state and local economies, member contractors responded quickly to the challenges, changing how work is planned and executed, retooling safety and health protocols to protect workers on jobsites, stepping up to help construct or convert existing buildings into temporary emergency hospitals and aiding recovery efforts after natural disasters.

With a variety of opportunities for people from all backgrounds and education levels delivered through 800 ABC education programs at 1,400 locations nationwide, the construction industry features careers with low barriers to entry, infinite opportunities for growth and competitive salaries. ABC delivers construction education through innovative and flexible learning models, such as just-in-time task training, competency-based progression, work-based learning and industry-recognized apprenticeships in more than 50 professions—plus more than 300 U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship programs across 20 different occupations.

In 2019 alone, ABC members invested $1.5 billion to educate and upskill more than 1.1 million course attendees in craft, leadership and safety education to advance their careers in commercial and industrial construction. In September, ABC was awarded the Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Award at a White House ceremony for its achievements in workforce education and fulfilling its 2018 pledge to recruit and upskill at least 500,000 workers by 2023.