Education and Training (Archived)

RT-014a Topic Summary
RT 014a


The initial objective of RT-14 (which includes products from Task Force 85-14:  Education and Training) was to capture benchmarks on then-current and near-future needs for education and training in construction. Their foundational report was released in 1990, “Acquisition of Skills and Traits Among Construction Personnel” (SD-54). This led to further studies and in 1991 they published “Evaluation of College Curricula Which Prepare Management Personnel for Construction” (SD-71), and a Special Publication (SP14-1) “Construction Work Force Recruitment Resources Guide” which focused on strategic recruitment implementation. The Education and Training Task Force concluded its work in 1992 when it published its report “Women in Construction” (SD-73). 

In the initial study (SD-54) the team defined 10 skills and traits required in varying degrees to perform 11 identified construction roles, from senior executive to subjourneyman. They defined three sources of training:  formal education, special training, and on-the-job experience. Lastly, they provided 11 key conclusions and recommendations, including these four key ones:

  1. There is a need for critical review of all formal education for construction, with a particular emphasis on management education where some impact may be made; a comprehensive study of collegiate construction programs is recommended.
  2. Continuing education in construction needs to be upgraded through the collective efforts of academic institutions, contractor organizations, and owner councils.
  3. Individual companies should formalize their employee development programs.
  4. Technical and communications skills training requires significant improvement for craft workers, who were very much inadequately trained in these skills.

The initial study indicated that about 30% of skills and traits needed to perform construction roles should be gained through formal education. The remainder are acquired through on the job training and experience. The study of college level construction programs (SD-71) was undertaken to determine how education models fit the needs of industry, and was focused primarily on bachelor degree programs and some limited graduate program institutions (two-year programs were not included). The intent was to provide a source document on construction program information for employers, educators, potential students, and other interested parties.

Within the studies, but primarily associated with the Task Force publication on Recruitment Resources (SP14), the evidence was clear that the non-traditional workforce would be a future driving force and that there was a need to recruit more women. The resulting “Game Plan” included in SD-73 targeted recruitment and retention of women in the construction workforce.

This body of research conducted by CII in the over-arching area of Education and Training touches on key areas that remain relevant today in the broadest sense.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Current Training Perceived as Inadequate

The broad perception of respondents to the RT-17 survey was that current education and training were not adequate to meet the needs of the construction industry. (SD-54, p. 19)
Reference: (SD-54)

2 : Training Is a Continuum

Education and training are a continuum, with upper level functions requiring roughly equal portions of formal education, special training and on-the-job experience; lower level functions benefit more from proportionally greater amounts of special training and on-the-job experience. The 11 identified construction roles are shown in the table below. (SD-54, p. 33, Table 4)

Reference: (SD-54)

3 : Construction Education Is Diversified

Whereas other disciplines have relatively standard criteria, construction is subject to significantly different interpretations from university to university. Construction needs to clarify the tenets of its formal education components. The diversity is described in Table 1. (SD-71, p.2)
Reference: (SD-71)

4 : Cohesiveness Is Lacking Among Programs

Accreditation procedures and outcome assessments are gradually bringing about some cohesiveness, but a standard construction curriculum is not in the foreseeable future nor is it really desirable. The construction industry will be best served by high quality education in a variety of formats. This key point is reflected strongly in Table 2 below, comparing Engineering Related and Non-Engineering related construction program characteristics. (SD-71, p. 6) 
Reference: (SD-71)

5 : Workplace Priorities

Surveys of women and management in construction revealed considerable overlap in their perspectives of what they valued in the workplace. Factors including fair treatment, good training, safe work sites, and full employment were high priorities to both men and women. Improving these factors will make construction more attractive as a career to both women and men. (SD-73, p. 4)
Reference: (SD-73)

6 : Game Plan

The “Game Plan to Attract and Maintain Women in Construction” was a key output from SD-73 which the team had intended to expand and publish additionally as a separate document. No evidence suggests the publication was completed but the findings captured in the Game Plan are instructive. (SD-73, p. 5)
Reference: (SD-73)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

SP14-1, Construction Work Force Recruitment Resources Guide

This Guide was intended for use by state and local coalitions, local user councils, industry advisory councils, contractors, owner, or any other groups seeking to address the problem of worker shortages. Both short term and long term strategies are outlined to change the career of "last resort" image of construction. Overall it is a guide to student engagement all levels, K-12 and post-secondary. (This publication has been archived, but is available for download for informational purposes only.)
Reference: (SP14-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved recruitment and retention, Improved productivity, Improved cost, Improved schedule, Improved quality

Research Publications

Women in Construction - SD-73

Publication Date: 06/1992 Type: Source Document Pages: 307 Status: Archived Reference

Evaluation of College Curricula Which Prepare Management Personnel for Construction - SD-71

Publication Date: 03/1992 Type: Source Document Pages: 373 Status: Archived Reference

Construction Work Force Recruitment Resources Guide - SP14-1

Publication Date: 07/1991 Type: Special Publication Pages: 24 Status: Archived Tool

The Acquisition of Skills and Traits Among Construction Personnel - SD-54

Publication Date: 07/1990 Type: Source Document Pages: 102 Status: Archived Reference