Education - Haralson County - Manufacturing

Reversing the Trend: Crane Industry Services Working to Fix Shortage of Skilled Laborers

Crane Industry Services is all about finding solutions.

Whether it’s how to teach journeymen the proper way to lift huge loads with advanced rigging techniques or helping to fix the nation’s skilled worker shortage, no task is too big or too small for the company, which has partnered with West Georgia Technical College and offers courses year-round on the college’s Waco campus.

Crane Industry CEO Debbie Dickinson said the company’s Centered on Safety Training Center on the Murphy Campus showcases hands-on, job-specific training for the crane and rigging industry in an aggressive, immersion class setting.

“We’re proud to have brought programs to West Georgia Technical College that didn’t exist before,” Dickinson said. “Our vision is to fix a huge problem in our industry — that we need more people. There are great careers in the industry, but a couple of decades ago, people adopted the mentality that to be successful in life, you have to have a four-year degree from a college. That’s just not true, and it’s led to a problem across the nation.”

A study completed by HomeAdvisors in February 2016 reports 93 percent of contractors believe their businesses would grow over the next six months, if not for hiring challenges. Likewise, 61 percent of skilled laborers believe there is a lack of exposure to the profession for younger generations.

“We’re working to reverse that trend,” Dickinson said, “but it’s not easy work. We think of ourselves as a secret that’s too well-kept, and getting the word out has been one of the greatest challenges we’ve faced in the past six months.”

The training center offers training for students from “all walks of life,” Dickinson said — from experienced journeymen looking for higher levels of certification to young men and women who’ve never set foot on a job site.

“We pride ourselves on taking people who’ve never worked in this kind of industry before and teaching them to use the tools at their disposal,” Dickinson said. “Not just understand what the tools are and how they work, but how to actually use them practically, in a real-world setting.”

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