An assessment of implementation requirements for the Tier II construction workforce strategy
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The United States construction industry has endured a skilled labor shortage over the last two decades. The shortage varies in its characteristics and intensity, but it continues to persist. Although the industry has developed numerous programs to improve recruitment, training, and retention, these efforts have not eliminated the problem. It is clear that more must be done. The Tier II strategy combines a number of workforce development and management principles into a comprehensive approach that is measurable and can be related to construction success. The strategy seeks to develop a strong, highly-skilled core within the journey-level workforce. These “Tier II journey-level craft workers” possess excellent technical skills and have the management skills to support crew-level planning. Effective utilization of these highly-skilled craft workers should result in better project performance, as well as higher income, job satisfaction, and better career opportunities for the individual worker. The Tier II strategy is defined by metrics developed to measure performance and to provide guidance for implementation. Baseline data have been collected from more than 900 individuals and 20 projects. This dissertation documents the first comprehensive attempt to provide quantitative guidance regarding the implementation of the Tier II strategy. The current status of the industry based on the Tier II metrics is assessed using the baseline data. Using this current status as a starting point, this dissertation identifies the requirements necessary to achieve an advanced level of Tier II implementation for an example project, which requires the determination of quantitative data where none exist in the academic literature. Expected benefits and costs are developed based on published literature and unpublished data from a number of industry sources. Industry implementation will evolve in a number of different forms, as companies develop detailed implementation plans that complement their corporate cultures and the specific requirements of their projects and their personnel. Based on the Tier II metrics, baseline data, published literature, and unpublished industry data gathered through interviews and meetings, the Tier II strategy can be implemented at an advanced level with a minimum expected benefit-cost ratio in the range of 2:1 to 3:1.