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ABC / WMC launches West Michigan Construction Institute

The Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter (ABC / WMC) is launching a new vocational training center to fill the construction talent gap.

ABC / WMC announced Monday, August 30, that it is launching the West Michigan Construction Institute (WMCI), a vocational education center focused on developing a skilled workforce of construction professionals in Grand Rapids to help fill a growing talent gap and ensure the sustainability of the industry. long-term stability and growth.

West Michigan’s construction industry is expected to grow nearly 16% over the next 10 years, while at the same time, nearly 48% of today’s construction workforce hui is expected to retire within the next 15 years. The decline in skilled labor has resulted in the loss of projects by companies in Western Michigan due to understaffing and a dramatic increase in construction costs.

WMCI will have high school day programs coordinated with and through area high schools and community-wide training programs. WMCI’s evening classes will focus on apprentices and the development of those already employed in the industry.

The new training center addresses a need shared across the industry for more skilled workers to complete construction projects in various categories, and also serves as an entry point for employees to work in the commercial construction industry. The institute is designed to be a hub for the recruitment, development and placement of talent for the commercial construction industry of West Michigan.

“The labor pool is drying up and the need for more business education programs is increasing, but not the existing ones,” said Jen Schottke, president of WMCI and former vice president of operations for ABC / WMC. “WMCI provides the training needed to advance in a professional career where services are in demand, with the job security that comes with it. “

The program will be based in a new facility underway at 801 Century Ave. SW, south of Franklin and just west of US-131. The construction contractor at the facility is Dan Vos Construction, and the project is expected to be completed in December. The building will include classrooms, a construction lab and meeting rooms, and it will also house the ABC / WMC offices.

WMCI student registration begins in late fall and classes are expected to start in January 2022.

“Today’s students want meaningful, well-paying careers that allow them to live their lives and contribute to their community,” said Schottke. “The institute will provide hands-on trades training that will allow students to develop their hands and minds. “

WMCI students can enroll in programs that include core construction, carpentry, electrical, interior finishes, and plumbing, as well as pursue certifications or professional development in additional specialties such as becoming a technician. Certified or a Copper Installer from Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI). The duration of each program ranges from one-week certifying training to multi-year apprenticeship and craft training programs.

The Electrical Program is a partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, which will move its more than 400 students currently enrolled in electrical apprenticeships to the WMCI facility starting in January.

“Partnerships build stronger communities,” said Bill Pink, President of the RCMP. “Our college has partnered to prepare individuals for careers in the construction trades for decades, and the West Michigan Construction Institute is a prime example of employers and educators working together to create opportunities for residents of. to succeed. Together, we will create a talented workforce ready for rewarding careers and help our West Michigan economy thrive. “


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Erica Gill

The author Erica Gill

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