Do Learning Barriers Exist in the Construction Industry?

RHK Construction - Do Learning Barriers Exist in the Construction Industry?

The answer is a blunt yes! “We come from a family with our own personal struggles in education and the workforce,” explained Katie Heiden, CEO of RHK Construction. “With three centuries of building tradition, we continue to see the effects of education gaps affecting the next generation. We believe this is negatively affecting the outcome of those entering the construction industry today.”

What happens when waitlists are longer, and trade education signups become stagnant? Not to mention companies no longer visiting schools with a hands-on booth so kids can experience aspects of the trades at an early age. “This is how the disconnect begins, when trade schools and public education curriculums wait until students are 18 to introduce the trades as a career path,” added Heiden. “A 2022 study estimated that 10.1% of workers belonged to unions in the US, compared to 20.1% in 1983. Union membership in the private sector has fallen to 6.0%, and the US has fallen to fifth place for the lowest trade union density of the 36 OECD member nations.”

Adding to the challenges, federal and state guidelines set specific standardized testing without the knowledge of IEP, 504, and OHI education interventions. For people who struggle with dyslexia, have weakened skills in ELA, or require education interventions, standardized testing ignores unseen learning disabilities that affect youths attempting to enter the trades. Specific groups of people are barred from earning prevailing wages.

“If we want to increase the numbers of those entering the trades, we need to familiarize our union board members, president, and staff, along with the Department of Labor, with what educational interventions look like for students,” said Heiden. “We need more contractors and union members getting back into the classroom encouraging the next generation to build.”

November 13-17, 2023 is American Education Week. Have you invited your local contractors to visit classrooms to support the construction industry and teach about the Trades?

RHK Construction, Inc.

219 West Galena Blvd.

Aurora, IL 60506

Ph: (331) 212-5158

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