Merit shop contractors report $1.5 billion in workforce development expenditures

Associated Builders and Contractors member contractors invested more than $1.5 billion to provide nearly 1.3 million course attendees with craft, leadership and safety education in 2022, according to the 2023 Workforce Development Survey, down from $1.6 billion in 2021. The annual assessment quantifies the scope of ABC members’ workforce development initiatives to advance their employees’ careers in commercial and industrial construction. Key findings include:

  • ABC contractors invested an average of 8 percent of payroll on workforce development in 2022, up from 7.4 percent in 2021, responding to the projected need for more than half a million additional construction workers this year;
  • Safety education for more than 700,000 course attendees accounted for the greatest share of spending, at 59 percent, up three points from 2021; and,
  • Trade and specialty contractors boosted their share of the total workforce development investment, growing to 42 percent in 2022 from 33 percent the prior year.

“ABC member contractors are building the people who build America by investing billions to cultivate their long-term skill sets, creating a brighter future for both workers and workers’ families,” says Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore. “Contractors are investing in flexible, competency-based and market-driven education methodologies to build a construction workforce that is safe, skilled and productive. Continually upskilling our people, our most valuable asset, means the merit shop construction industry is ready to build the infrastructure, manufacturing plants, data centers and other buildings that will keep America competitive in the global marketplace.”

ABC’s all-of-the-above approach to workforce development has produced a network of chapters and affiliates across the country that offer more than 800 apprenticeship, craft, safety and management education programs—including more than 300 government-registered apprenticeship programs across 20 different occupations. Construction-geared management consultant FMI conducted the 2022 Workforce Development Survey; aggregated data was derived by calculating the average amount spent on education by each respondent and multiplying that by the total number of ABC contractor members.


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