The economy is strong in Southeastern Michigan. It is a great time to be a contractor and to have many opportunities available to us, but as a contractor you may have noticed that having all these opportunities have been putting stress on your company due to the lack of workforce and leadership. We are faced with a small pool of trained craftsmen to do all this work and in the next few years, we will have up to 17% of our trained craftsmen and leaders retiring from their trades. Where can we find all the people we need to fill those jobs?
As chair of Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeastern Michigan Board of Directors, I am focused on expanding our training and education for our future leaders and building a pipeline of skilled workers for our membership. This last year, our association developed the Emerging Professionals program to grow the future leadership of our members. With great success, we are into our second year of the program and we will be developing an ongoing series of events and seminars to further cultivate that group.
ABC of Southeastern Michigan offers our membership great opportunities with training and education, events for networking, safety services, and alignment to the merit shop and free enterprise philosophy. Join me this year and take part in all of the activities and benefits that ABC SEMI has to offer and continue to use ABC as a resource to better your company. ABC’s professional staff is here to help you find solutions.
I look forward to continuing to lead you this coming year.
Robert Clancy, Robert Clancy Contracting
Chair, ABC SEMI
ABC Focuses on Workforce Development
Reaching out to younger generations and engaging them in what a career in construction can provide is a priority, and will continue to be a priority going into 2018 and beyond. We currently boast a record number of students who are taking our Electrical and HVAC programs at Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA) our Madison Heights training facility. In addition, we launched satellite campuses in both Monroe and Lapeer Counties to meet the continued demand for training and workforce development for ABC members. We offer a complete apprentice program to students in Electrical at Lapeer. In addition, at Monroe High School we offer students both Electrical and HVAC training to help meet the demand for skilled craftsmen. We also anticipate expanding into Lenawee County in 2018 and hope to further expand our Madison Heights campus to accommodate the increasing demand for training for our members and more.
ABC SEMI Safety Programs
We continue to see an increase in the need for safety education for our members here at ABC SEMI. In addition to the creation of our current ABC Safety Committee, we have also responded by offering classes over the past year covering various topics to help members keep their employees safe. These classes have been offered in different locations, often at our members location, around Southeastern Michigan to bring training closer to you. We most recently hosted a safety class that dealt with the new OSHA Silica Standards and how they will impact our members. We encourage all our members to make themselves aware of the changing safety requirements that OSHA oversees to ensure the safety of their employees and the well-being of their companies.
To help with the rising demand of safety concerns for our membership, we brought on John Manor last April as our new Membership and Safety Director, and he has been a great addition to ABC SEMI. Over the past six months, he has connected with members by letting them know about upcoming safety training, fielding class requests, undergone STEP certification, and starting the new ABC SEMI Safety Committee. John will continue to offer members CPR, First Aid, OSHA 10 and 30 training, Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) orientation, specialized safety training as well safety briefs and tool box talks for ABC SEMI.
Advocacy: Prevailing Wage/Union Salting
This past year, we continued to be your voice by promoting and advocating the values of merit shop.
Our advocacy arm, ABC of Michigan, and ABC SEMI President Keith Ledbetter represented us nationally, locally and at the state capitol in Lansing on issues such as union salting, labor law and workforce development, to name a few. We were also involved in establishing a fund to gain the needed signatures to put the issue of repealing prevailing wage on the ballot. An initiative that has gained momentum and is anticipated by the time this article prints will be approved to be voted on during the 2018 election cycle.
ABC SEMI has created many new alliances over the last year giving ABC and merit shop a seat at the table. We have created a much stronger working relationship with the Washington Policy Center and National ABC staff thru numerous visits to our nation’s Capital supporting and championing our cause to our elected leaders. In addition, we have had numerous visits with our board and local legislators at our Madison Heights headquarters. Congressman Paul Mitchell, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, State Representative Pete Lucido, and many others have attend-ed board meetings and ABC SEMI functions to speak to our members about the issues that will impact their business and the state’s economy.
The ABC SEMI team welcomed Ashley Weaver as Director of Communications in January of this year. Ashley is a Central Michigan graduate and has brought a wealth of new and innovative ideas to deliver-ing ABC’s message about the value of the merit shop philosophy. She has reinvented our website and launched an aggressive social media campaign to inform our members of all the services and benefits that their membership has to offer. She heads up our Southeast Michigan Contractors magazine and is responsible for coordinating all interviews and content for the publication. Weaver was instrumental in launching and coordinating ABC SEMI’s Emerging Professionals program, an innovative young professional committee focusing on skill and leadership training for our future leaders in the construction industry. In addition to media and communications, Ashley is also responsible for planning an implementing all ABC association functions and activities.
The ABC SEMI team welcomed John Manor as Director of Membership and Safety in April of this year.
John previously served as district director, policy director and chief of staff in the Michigan Senate and worked for the past 10-years for both the past and current Senate Majority Leader. John has both carpentry and contracting background and previously worked for a major industrial contractor before joining ABC. He earned his bachelor of art in Communications from the Michigan State University.
Since joining us John has helped move ABC SEMI to a growth chapter which currently enjoys a 93% membership retention rate. Currently ABC SEMI ranks as one of the top performing chapters in the nation and is expected to be recognized nationally with a Membership Excellence: Retention and growth Award.
Our ABC SEMI family wishes you all a very Happy New Year and we eagerly look forward to providing our members cutting edge training, safety and membership service and anticipate having another stellar year in 2018.