By Charles McGrath, ICPI Executive Director
Seventy-three percent of the 218 segmental concrete pavement contractors who responded to the 2017 ICPI Contractor Industry Survey said recruiting/hiring quality employees was one of their greatest challenges, while only 18.6% indicated demand for their services was a top concern.
These findings reveal one obvious, but significant fact: there is a strong market in the U.S. and Canada for concrete pavers, but the industry struggles in finding skilled employees to capitalize on this demand.
This trend is reflected throughout the wider residential construction industry. According to the National Association of Home Builders, there were 203,000 unfilled construction jobs in April. This fact combined with an aging construction workforce (see chart below) means that our industry may have to confront a trained worker shortage in the foreseeable future.
Image above: Graph from NAHB's article, "Young Construction Workers Mean More Monitoring, Longer Projects."
In response to this challenge, the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) is helping segmental concrete pavement contractors find an answer to worker shortages. The Institute dedicates considerable resources to ensuring contractors and their employees learn the industry’s best installation practices through member-sponsored courses. From July 2016 to June 2017 ICPI and its members sponsored 89 courses across the United States and Canada.
ICPI offers beginning, immediate, and advanced courses for installers in the U.S. and Canada, including a Concrete Paver Installer course, an Advanced Residential Paver Technician course, a Commercial Paver Technician course and a Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Specialist course. In all, more than 31,000 professionals participated in ICPI installer courses, including 1,833 installers from July 2016 through May 2017.
Individuals who became ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installers passed the Concrete Paver Installer course with a minimum of 10,000 sf of installation experience. ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installers can be verified on the ICPI website.
Courses for the upcoming season are now organizing. Click here for the current calendar of classes on the ICPI website (www.icpi.org), and check regularly because new classes are being launched weekly. If you are an ICPI member paver manufacturer, supplier or dealer, you can sponsor a course in your area. Contact Anya Plana-Hutt, ICPI Manager of Education, at email@example.com to discuss sponsoring a course.
In addition, ICPI now offers members a complimentary benefit addressing entry-level installer training needs for contractors. It’s launching a quarterly demonstration video series available on-demand from the ICPI website (free for ICPI contractor members, while non-members pay $40). The first demonstration video is Basic Paver Installation.
For more details about ICPI education courses and certification, click here.
For more information about ICPI, please visit www.icpi.org. To purchase the complete 2017 ICPI Contractor Industry Report, please visit the ICPI Bookstore, www.icpi.org/shop. Contractors who participated in the survey received a complimentary copy. Retail price: $100. ICPI members pay only $25.
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