Workforce Diversity Summit at ACI Convention Enlightens Crowd
DETROIT, MI Workforce Innovation, a session held in conjunction with the Women in Concrete Alliance (WICA) at the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Concrete Convention and Exposition in Detroit, Michigan, captured the attention of its attendees with the incredible amount of information shared.
Addressing the question, "How do we get the right labor force for the jobs that will exist in 10 years?" attendees learned about an effective diversity strategy what is working and what is hurting progress. The session provided attendees with an understanding of actions that can be taken to drive progress in organizations.
Mike Schneider, ACI President and Senior Vice President/Chief People Officer for Baker Concrete Construction the event sponsor explained that "it is incumbent upon the industry to have more diversity and inclusion in our workforce. By doing this, we will have an adequate supply of professionals and tradespeople to support industry demand. Bringing more women into the industry is one possible solution."
"Through our participation in this event, we learn best practices being used by other industries, which we can incorporate into Baker's recruiting strategies and tactics," he noted.
The keynote session was led by Pam Jeffords, a partner at Mercer and a global expert on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In addition, Jeffords led an interactive problem-solving discussion. The morning included commentary and insight from industry leaders related to key issues facing the concrete industry including:
"¢ Research update on the status of the industry
"¢ Talent acquisition and workforce retention
"¢ Opportunities for women
"¢ The future labor force
"¢ Generational differences
Jeffords noted that only 50 percent of skills needed today will be applicable in 2020, and current job positions will require different skill sets in just a few years. She also noted that skills instability will be high for all industries, regardless of employment outlook.
The session also included an update from Sefla Fuhrman on her recent doctoral research focused on women in nontraditional occupations, specifically the concrete construction industry. She discussed where the industry is in comparison to other industries with salaries and employing women, as well as tactics to address the shortage.
Omar Javier Silva, Chief of Publications for the Colombian Ready Mixed Concrete Producers Association (ASOCRETO), shared his experiences with the WICA events held in Colombia in May 2014 and 2016 as well as Miami, Florida, in 2015. He expressed his belief that "workforce innovation will resonate in the U.S. concrete companies."
"Building on the success of similar gatherings in South America and in Miami, the WICA Steering Committee was excited to be able to host an event for the concrete industry that shares insight on today's changing workforce," said Kimberly Kayler, WICA Co-Founder and President of Constructive Communication, Inc. "Through the sponsorship of ACI and Baker Concrete Construction, we were able to assemble leading-edge speakers that will not only educate but provide practical guidance on how to thrive in today's global workplace environment.""¨Kari Moosmann, WICA Co-Founder and AEC Senior Editorial Director for Constructive Communication, Inc., agreed, remarking that "this was a unique opportunity to hear from those who have been studying diversity in our industry and learn from the trends they observe. There is much to consider and incorporate into our own companies as a result of the advice and guidelines from these speakers.""¨"Events organized by WICA provide great access to industry visionaries, trailblazers and emerging leaders with fresh and impactful solutions to client and industry challenges," said Anne Ellis, a member of the Summit Steering Committee and ACI Past President. "The Detroit Workforce Innovation Forum provided a unique opportunity to apply the ACI brainpower and amazing problem-solving skills to a paramount concrete industry challenge: attracting and retaining people. As we tackle this immediate problem, we are faced with an equally perplexing problem: finding people and developing those skills that will be in demand in the concrete industry in 5 to 10 years. It is insightful to learn from our colleagues what those skills may be in academia, design and construction."
Ron Burg, ACI Executive Vice President, said, "The American Concrete Institute was pleased to host the Women in Concrete Alliance session on Workforce Innovation at our convention in Detroit. The topic of diversity in the workforce is not only interesting, but also timely given the critical need to attract qualified individuals at all levels to the concrete industry. The concrete industry is vital to the well-being of the nation, not only for the jobs it creates, but also for maintaining the health, safety and welfare of the world's population by designing, building, and maintaining safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing concrete structures and infrastructure. I look forward to the continuing ACI's productive relationship with WICA."