ICPI Launches Workforce Development Program

October 22, 2018

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) launched a Workforce Development program to attract and train new installers and contractors.

The program includes a new Hardscape Installer/Contractor Career Path with the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) that aligns the associations’ certifications and education courses in a clear, achievable process for new people to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the industry.

The ICPI Workforce Development program is being launched in response to wide-spread contractor needs for new and better skilled employees. In the 2018 ICPI Contractor Industry Report, four of every five participating contractors report that their top challenge is recruiting and hiring skilled employees.

 “We are all aware of the labor shortage in construction, and especially in our industry,” said Kendall Anderegg, ICPI Chair. “In response, the ICPI Board created a Workforce Development Special Committee in 2017. Participating members and staff have spent the last few months developing a strategy and plan that includes a Career Path, a Boot Camp training program, installer curriculum development and deployment in post-secondary schools and online, and promotion of hardscape construction careers.

“Part of this effort is the joint ICPI/NCMA Hardscape Installer/Contractor Career Path. Many contractors install both concrete pavers and segmental retaining walls. So, it makes good sense for the organizations to collaborate in helping new and existing installers and contractors gain the best possible skills, education, and experience,” said Anderegg.

“The Hardscape Contractor Career Path provides a roadmap for hardscape installers to have a very rewarding career”, says David Pitre, Chair of the NCMA SRW and Hardscape Committee. “Many contractors install both segmental retaining walls and pavers so the joint program between NCMA and ICPI will benefit installers and give them the tools, resources and certifications necessary to become successful hardscape professionals.”

ICPI Boot Camps Will Kick Off This Winter
One of the key needs of hardscape contractors throughout the U.S. and Canada is an entry-level course that will provide new installers with the knowledge and skills they need to immediately get a job and start a career. ICPI has developed the course which includes one day of hands-on installation training and one day of classroom instruction. Content will include:


  • Paver project overview/planning, documentation, tools and terminology
  • Safety
  • Soil characteristics
  • Sub-base preparation and base construction process
  • Edge restraints and construction details
  • Bedding sand
  • Concrete pavers
  • Installation of concrete pavers
  • Joint sand
  • Cutting/splitting and compaction
  • Finishing the project

ICPI member companies, affiliated ICPI Chapters, government agencies, municipalities, educational institutions, and ICPI-approved non‐profit organizations will be able to sponsor Boot Camps. Boot Camp instructors will be ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installers who are either ICPI Authorized Instructors or have completed ICPI web-based Boot Camp Instructor training. Boot Camp materials include a student manual, instructor’s guide, PowerPoint presentation, videos, test, and promotional registration form. Students who pass the Boot Camp course will receive a Record of Completion.

An updated list of Boot Camps offerings will be maintained on ICPI’s website, www.icpi.org/educate.

ICPI Certification Now Available Through In-person Courses Sponsored by Member or Approved Post-Secondary Schools

The opportunities to become an ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installer have increased. In addition to passing in-person ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Courses sponsored by ICPI members throughout the U.S. and Canada, people interested in becoming certified can attend post-secondary schools that offer ICPI course content either as stand-alone courses or incorporated into their existing curricula. Participants in both types of courses will be required to pass an examination, as well as gain and document 10,000 square feet of overall concrete paver installation experience in at least five projects. Individuals can pass the course and later gain their certifications as they achieve the required experience.

Course content includes:

  • Job planning and layout
  • Safety
  • Soil classification and compaction
  • Bedding and joint sand
  • Paver selection and installation
  • Use of labor-saving specialty tools
  • Edge restraints
  • Base material selection and compaction

Installers are required to renew their Certification every two years by completing eight hours of Continuing Education credit through ICPI or other approved sources.

Up-to-date lists of ICPI in-person courses and post-secondary schools offering ICPI Concrete Paver Course content are available at www.icpi.org/events/calendar.

NCMA Certification Available Through In-person Courses

Installers can earn an NCMA certification by passing an in-person NCMA Segmental Retaining Wall Installer Course.

Installer courses are sponsored by an NCMA member or approved affiliate organization in your area. In addition to the education course, installers will need to gain and document a total of 2,500 square feet of segmental retaining wall installation experience on at least five projects.

The course includes:

  • SRW installation guidelines
  • Material and system component properties
  • Soils and compaction
  • The effect of water
  • Safety
  • Site practices

Installers are required to renew their Certification every two years by completing eight hours of Continuing Education credit through NCMA or other sources.

Up-to-date lists of NCMA in-person course offerings is available at www.ncma.org/srw-classes.

Access to ICPI Specialist-level Courses Increases for Installers Looking to Further Enhance Their Careers

Currently, ICPI offers in-person Specialist-level courses in residential, commercial, and/or permeable interlocking concrete pavement (PICP).  In addition to earning their Concrete Paver Installer Certification and passing one of the Specialist courses, people seeking this designation must gain 50,000 square feet of installation experience on 10 projects in the corresponding specialty area.

The three Specialist-level courses include various content, such as:

  • Safety
  • Site management
  • Material calculations
  • Field construction
  • Stabilized bases
  • Bedding sand
  • Mechanical installation and the Method Statement for quality control
  • Construction details and plan reading

Specialist courses are available in-person in various locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Starting in 2019, the ICPI Installer Residential Specialist and ICPI Installer Commercial Specialist Courses also will be available online through ICPI’s new learning management system. The Installer Residential Specialist Course will launch in February 2019, while the online Installer Commercial Specialist course will begin in Fall 2019. Registration for in-person Specialist level courses is available now at www.icpi.org/educate. On-demand, online courses will be available at the same website address.

When installers renew their Concrete Paver Installer Certification, their Specialist Designations also renew.

Individuals seeking more information about ICPI’s education programs for installers and contractors can send an email to icpi@icpi.org, call (703) 657-6900, or visit www.icpi.org/educate.

NCMA Advanced Courses Offer Specialized Knowledge

These programs teach SRW applications and installation techniques for advanced residential or commercial projects. The programs are open to NCMA Certified SRW Installers (CSRWI) who are engaged in the construction of SRWs.

The advanced topics include:

  • Plan reading and specifications
  • SRW properties
  • wall layout and planning
  • water and drainage
  • cut and fill walls
  • specialty installation: tiered walls, corners and curves, stairs and patios
  • inspection
  • roles and responsibilities

Installers are required to renew their Certification every two years by completing eight hours of Continuing Education credit through NCMA or other sources.

Advanced SRW courses are available in-person in various locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. For a full list of offerings visit www.ncma.org/srw-classes.

Individuals seeking more information about ICPI’s education programs for installers and contractors can send an email to icpi@icpi.org, call (703) 657-6900, or visit www.icpi.org/educate.

Professional-level Installer Courses Launch in Fall 2019

Individuals looking to advance into management of a hardscape contracting company will be able to gain the knowledge they need through ICPI or NCMA Professional Residential and Commercial Courses. the courses will include industry-leading content on:

  • Employee management
  • Proven business practices
  • Design and estimating
  • Contract development
  • Marketing

To earn and maintain the Installer Professional Designation, contractors must possess up-to-date ICPI and/or NCMA Certified and Specialists/Advanced credentials.

Individuals seeking more information about NCMA’s education programs for installers and contractor can send an email to info@ncma.org, call (703) 713-1900, or visit www.ncma.org/srw-contractor.

Marketing Effort Highlights Career Path Opportunities for Young People, Parents, and Educators

To promote the Hardscape Installer/Contractor Career Path to young people and other potentially new installers, the associations are development a marketing campaign that will be launched on the grassroots levels throughout the United States and Canada.  This marketing effort will include:

  • Video, digital, and print materials highlighting the career opportunities and rewards for young people.
  • Video and print materials to inform educators and parents about the Hardscape Installer/Contractor Career Path that emphasizes education, experience, and certification.
  • A Contractor Workforce Development Team consisting of members from throughout the United States and Canada that will roll out the program and marketing materials to schools, at job fairs, to nonprofit organizations, and at other local networking venues.


About Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute

ICPI is the trade association representing the growing industry of segmental concrete pavement systems in the United States and Canada. The association’s membership includes producers, contractors, suppliers, design professionals, and distributors. ICPI is the authority for concrete pavers, which are universally recognized as the best value for pavement systems. The association delivers education and technical guidance leading to awareness, acceptance and use of segmental concrete pavement systems in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.icpi.org.
About NCMA

NCMA unites, supports, and represents its members who are producers and suppliers of concrete masonry systems – including segmental retaining walls, other hardscape systems, concrete masonry, and manufactured stone veneer. NCMA knows these systems deliver the best in building. Through widespread promotion of system advantages, ongoing codes advocacy work, and installer certification programs, our organization advances the work of our members and helps to make these systems the first choice for designers, builders, and property owners, so communities are improved and made stronger. NCMA: Equipping Better building. www.ncma.org