Joining forces
Construction Alliance to address labor shortage, share ideas

By Freeman Staff

Feb. 19, 2019

Regionally, construction companies were hit hard during the Great Recession with their workforce not bouncing back as quickly as other industries. The Waukesha County Business Alliance announced Monday the creation of the Construction Alliance with regional members to address problems and to fuel innovation.
File photo

In an effort to address construction industry issues, such as the labor shortage, as well as to share ideas and encourage innovation, the Waukesha County Business Alliance, Inc. has created the Construction Alliance.

Regionally, construction companies were hit hard during the Great Recession and not only is the industry workforce not bouncing back as quickly as it needs to, according to the Monday announcement, costs have also risen.

The Construction Alliance initially formed as a committee to address the labor shortage the industry was experiencing, but has grown to encompass other industry needs, such as human resources roundtable discussions and other best practice sharing sessions, in addition to targeting new talent for the industry.

“The Construction Alliance is an important development for our industry in southeast Wisconsin,” said Holly Hawkins, president of Tri-North Builders’ Milwaukee office and chair of the Construction Executive Council. “There’s no other place quote like this where such a broad variety of perspectives are brought together to grapple with the problems our industry is facing as a whole. I’m excited to be part of it.”

According to the announcement, the lack of labor drives up construction costs, which in turn raises the prices of homes, commercial buildings, repair services and more.

In a survey conducted by the Alliance in 2017, 87 percent of construction/ skilled trades companies indicated having difficulty attracting and/or retaining employees.

Here are some programs of the Construction Alliance:

■ Construction Executive Council — The Construction Executive Council is comprised of construction and skilled trades leaders who set the strategic direction for the Construction Alliance. This group meets quarterly.

■ HREx Program Series — HR Excellence (HREx) programs give construction HR professionals the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker, participate in facilitated roundtable discussions and share best practices on issues relating to safety, quality improvement, workforce development, security and more. This group meets four times per year.

■ Kids Building Wisconsin — Kids Building Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that hosts construction career expos in Madison and Waukesha. Middle school students participate in interactive activities run by construction and skilled trades companies to learn about careers in the industry.

■ Careers Uncovered — Careers Uncovered helps Waukesha County educators learn more about career pathways. Educators tour a local company, have a roundtable discussion with company leadership and put together an action plan to improve the academic and career planning process for their students.

The Construction Alliance is also forming strategic partnerships with other organizations such as Mindful Staffing to help people enter or re-enter the workforce.

Members of the Construction Alliance Executive Council include Price Erecting Company in West Allis; MSI General Corporation in Nashotah; Stier Construction in City of Pewaukee; Stang, Inc. in Madison; and Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. in City of Pewaukee.