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Future in Focus

Spreading the seeds for future industry leaders today

By Brian Midyett

n the first column of my presidency, I briefly mentioned an objective related to AGC’s strategic plan to address the severe qualified-workforce shortage facing our industry, which is spearheaded by our Education, Training & Workforce, or ETWD, committee. As I write my final column, I’m excited to update you on recent WeBuildAlaska efforts and how we are elevating the image of construction careers while activating the next generation of Alaska’s construction industry workforce.

In 2022, AGC launched our new workforce development website, The site is designed to be a “one-stop shop” for info, training, and job opportunities for joining Alaska’s construction industry. In tandem with the website launch, WeBuildAlaska has continued to focus on increasing campaign awareness and expanding online presence across the three platforms of current focus: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

This multi-faceted social campaign has increased our industry’s visibility across Alaska and, by using data from our social media analytics, we can see that our campaign now has more than 1,000 followers on social media and our posts have generated hundreds of unique site visitors to WeBuildAlaska. As a member of AGC, please share this resource on your company and private social media pages and help us elevate the campaign’s impact to broader audiences.

AGC’s ETWD has, as another initiative, focused on connecting and influencing local Career and Technical Education, or CTE, leaders with industry contacts. In August, AGC hosted our first educator externship, designed to expose Alaskan educators to the many career opportunities available within the construction industry. QAP was the hosting contractor during the externship, and two CTE educators and one administrator attended.

The externship began with attendees participating in a morning safety meeting. They spent the rest of the day shadowing the host contractor and exploring the varying components, roles, and workforce needs on the jobsite. Knowing the educators attending would be co-teaching a Geometry in Construction course at Service High this year, AGC focused the day to display real-life applications of construction geometry concepts, including volume, quantity calculations, risk analysis, GPS technology, and a look into the career of a construction grade checker.

The ultimate goal in facilitating educator externships is to build strong connections with key educators and influencers and, in doing so, correct inaccurate narratives, misconceptions, negative stereotypes, and harmful career messaging which are all too common within our schools, such as “college is the only path to success.”

Through experiences like these, AGC is working to replace negative narratives with first-hand knowledge of the vast opportunities, varying pathways, and great needs within the industry.

With fewer people overall entering construction, the industry needs to continue to get creative in attracting employees from across the population. Part of the issue is that our industry has struggled to recruit a more diverse group of employees, which means not having the expanding pool of potential recruits required to keep up with demand. Alaska has one of the most diverse populations in the country, and this is an area where we can improve and expand inclusive recruiting efforts to broaden opportunities for job seekers throughout the state.

Getting new workers into the industry is one challenge. Keeping them is another. AGC of America has developed a Culture of CARE program designed as a how-to kit for firms to build more welcoming and inclusive jobsites and work environments. Members of AGC can visit to learn more about taking the company pledge to CARE, or Commit, Attract, Retain, and Empower, and how to implement or utilize a variety of techniques to build a culture that is diverse, safe, welcoming and inclusive.