Associated Builders and Contractors members invested $1.6 billion to educate their employees in 2018, up from $1.1 billion in 2013.
The 45% increase in spending resulted in nearly twice as many course attendees—more than 980,000—receiving craft, leadership, and safety education training in commercial and industrial construction, according to an ABC report.
“With more than 90% of members reporting a worker shortage and construction spending at near-record highs, this is the time to invest in our people, expand career opportunities and secure the workforce of the future,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of health, safety, education and workforce development.
ABC member contractors invested an average of $117,679, or 8.3% of payroll, on workforce development and education in 2018.
Safety education accounted for the greatest share of spending at 48%, or $1,306 per employee. ABC members provided safety education to nearly 600,000 course attendees in 2018.
ABC estimates that 8.2 million people were employed by the U.S. construction industry last year, and an additional 500,000 people will need to be hired in 2019 to meet the current backlog of construction projects—which stood at to 8.8 months in February 2019, according to ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator.