While a contractor’s involvement as an approved apprenticeship training contractor is of increasing importance in qualifying one’s workforce in today’s public work environment, it is still short of the mark when addressing the growing number of bid pre-requisites now being mandated by many public agencies and some larger commercial property owners and managers.
In short, learning and growing as a professional roofing mechanic does not end with receipt of a journeyman certificate. The next step is when and where it really gets interesting and rewarding for your workers, and for your company. This is where making a job profitable becomes more focused and viable: Crew leadership, job planning, material acquisition, timing, staging and coordination of a successful, safe and profitable operation.
And this is where the IRCC California Roofers University come in: developing well rounded field managers and supervisors who understand the full scope of running a job and the technical execution of the installation, from set-up and the pre-job conference and tear-off, to the final inspection.
Public Demand for Skilled & Trained Workforce
The term “skilled and trained workforce” has found its way into the vernacular of several pieces of workforce training legislation which have been pushed by organized labor over the last several years in collaboration with the California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) workforce policy operatives.
From organized labor’s perspective, the rationale for coinage of the “skilled and trained
workforce” in newly minted pieces of union driven legislation makes a great deal of sense. Because all the major construction trades have dominated worker training in the state, the term “skilled and trained” can be quickly tied to “union-only.” The narrative is enhanced when the message ties training to quality, worker safety, sound public policy, making sure that public entities who purchase construction services are serving the taxpayers by making sure that standards exist to ensure safe, reliable work based on the work of skilled and trained workers the best source of which are the trade unions. Obviously this narrative usually leaves out the fact that there are sound merit shop programs which exist, that are just as valid, just as trained and just as skilled (perhaps more so) than their counterparts in organized labor. Historically, though, the fact of valid merit shop training is disruptive to the “union only” narrative and the drive to shut out legitimate competition is therefore a “turf” protection reflex.
From the State’s perspective – raising the bar on training is a “public good” tied to a several decade long struggle to get an effective strategy against the “California Underground Economy.”
The state has been losing billions of dollars annually from bad actors in the construction trade who don’t pay taxes, some are unlicensed, and many misclassify their workers to avoid paying higher workers comp rates. Many under-report hours, fail to report or pay overtime. And in getting away with their strategies to cheat the system, money as well as jobs are taken away from legitimate contractors and from the State. The fact is, the overwhelming majority of construction companies who invest in training, union and non- union, are those who play by the rules. Typically, those who spend the money necessary to train, recognize the benefit that training, safety and formally recognized programs can bring to the market place.
Therefore, the initiative to up the standards on work by demanding increased verification of state and federal authorized training, should mean those companies who refuse to invest in training – are probably the ones cutting the corners, cheating the system, and taking work from legitimate companies – whether they are union or non-union.
Growing Field Leaders & Foremen
Leadership and competent supervision has always been the key to sound, water-tight and successful roofing projects; And, more than ever, property owners and managers, as well as public contracting agencies are understanding that with a such a significant capital investment a roof, there is very little margin of error. Sensitive customer properties managers such as hospitals, food processing plants, high-tech industry facilities, and schools have, in recent years, come to recognize that the low-bid doesn’t always reflect the best value in terms of the final output. The real value comes in the confidence that the purpose of successfully protecting the assets under the roof is best served by the best trained , most up-to-date and most skilled workforce under the best trained, most up-to-date leadership on the job each day.
This is where credentials come into play: committed roofing contractors who can demonstrate a commitment to training and technical expertise which eclipses the competition. Contractors who subscribe to the IRCC’s ‘California Roofers University’ and apprenticeship program, set themselves apart as developers of roofing installation professionals.
CRU trained foremen and crew leadership are equipped with knowledge to assist their companies organize and manage each roof installation safely, and effectively. They are equipped to maximize the utilization of labor under them, building worker morale and focusing on job profitability; and ensuring that the customer is satisfied and comfortable in the assurance of quality and sound workmanship.
Leaders Growing New Trainers: Long term, CRU aims to develop each participating company’s learning culture, and hopefully instill a respect for the training process to inspire a few Master Journeymen to join the growing faculty for both the IRCC apprenticeship training program and the California Roofer University.