Noah Davis, President, Upstryve Inc.
America’s infrastructure needs a facelift. But while everyone agrees that solutions are needed, no one can agree on how to do it. As our government continues to debate how to tackle our crumbling roads and bridges, there is one solution that I believe has been largely overlooked: skilled trade workers. These are the men and women who build, repair, maintain and run everything from power plants to water treatment systems, airports to railways – and they are all needed now more than ever.
US infrastructure is in crisis
The United States is facing an infrastructure crisis. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the US a C- last year on its report card with wastewater, highways and transit all in need of improvement. According to estimates by ASCE, about $4.6 trillion work is needed on things like bridges, dams and roads.
The problem is getting worse, and between 2026 and 2028 alone, they predict our existing backlog will grow by $1 trillion as more aging bridges collapse and roads give way under pressure from increased traffic. And the problem isn’t just that much of our infrastructure is crumbling, it’s that it’s not being built.
That is why it is so important that skilled craftsmen are involved in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. Not only will it create more work for them, but it will also help strengthen our economy by creating more jobs and lowering taxes for those who need them most.
The labor shortage is increasing
Labor shortages have become a reality for many companies and industries. The skilled crafts are no exception, and the problem is particularly acute in certain regions of the country and certain industries.
The reason why there is such a shortage can be traced to what experts call the skills mismatch. In other words, there aren’t enough people with the right skills to do the work that needs to be done. This can be caused by at least a number of factors.
• Young people are not interested in learning how to do these jobs.
• Employees who already have these skills cannot retire due to the demand for their knowledge and training opportunities.
As a result, employees are hired and trained much more slowly than the demand for their skills. The shortage of skilled workers in construction, transportation and other industries is expected to increase, leading many experts to predict it could turn into an even bigger crisis in just five years.
It’s hard to imagine a better time to be an experienced trader. The combination of technological advances, increased demand for labor and a growing need for affordable housing and infrastructure will make skilled occupations likely to In high demand in the next decade.
Skillful dealings like a silver lining
The rise of automation has led to a skilled labor shortage in many industries, and infrastructure is no exception. It will take an influx of workers skilled in new areas, as well as a lot of time and money to make up for the existing deferred infrastructure maintenance needs.
One possible solution lies in training more people for careers in the construction industry – a shining example of this is Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, which aims to employ thousands upon thousands of workers for its tunnel projects across America.
And there are plenty of other examples. Take, for example, the North American Crane Bureau (NACB); with the implementation of virtual reality software in the employee onboarding process, this company has modernized its training program, bringing it into the Web 3.0 era.
Some ways to find and train skilled workers
According to the American Chamber of Commerce, 76% of those surveyed, including construction representatives, say they struggle to find qualified workers for job openings within their company or industry. Skilled workers are also invaluable in helping young people move towards financial independence, but only if we can create more opportunities by increasing access to training programs such as apprenticeships so that students have options for their future.
Those in the industry need to find ways to attract and train workers. Ideas my company has used include offering career advancement opportunities unique to the skilled craftsmen and matching those interested in pursuing a career in trading with mentors who can facilitate their journey. Discounts on textbooks and equipment and exclusive access to learning materials can also help.
The answer to infrastructure needs
If you’re wondering how you can help solve the infrastructure crisis in 2023, think about the craftsmen. These positions are always necessary and can be part of the response to our infrastructure crisis.
The skilled professions are a good option for people who don’t want to go to college and want a more practical education than an engineering degree gives them. There’s no reason why someone with a high school diploma should struggle to find work if they’re willing to put in the time and effort that comes with it. Training and hiring more in this industry can also help solve our infrastructure crisis by filling positions previously held only by those with a technical background or degree in construction management.