Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

252 AEDF Technicians Certified Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic Since Early March

The AED Foundation Works with Schools and Dealers to come up with innovative testing solutions while social distancing is in place.

While much of the nation has been put on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The AED Foundation (AEDF) has been innovating new online testing opportunities to ensure technicians are still able to get certified. The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program holds technicians to an industry-recognized standard that helps them gain the skillset and qualifications to succeed in their careers. Since the beginning of March, 252 technicians have become certified.   

To make this number possible, The AED Foundation has resourcefully implemented online proctoring during this time, ensuring that students and technicians do not have to put their education plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an excellent accomplishment for dealers, schools and The Foundation to develop a timely solution allowing test-taking to continue. Online testing proves to be valuable to dealers to keep their technicians educated during this time. Thanks to this innovative testing solution and the flexibility of dealers and schools, online testing can ensure integrity that meets The Foundation’s standards. Online testing has not only offered a solution but allows ease for students and instructors as remote testing with proctoring is available 24/7.   

While many schools and dealerships, including Anderson Equipment Company, implemented online testing, some found other solutions to test students through the pandemic safely. Many of the CAT ThinkBIG programs, which represent approximately 1/3 of AEDF accredited college programs, divided students into small groups to comply with social distancing guidelines. These groups were sent to multiple CAT dealership buildings within the area to provide proctored tests without compromising students’ safety.   

This solution demonstrates that The AED Foundation is always willing to do what it takes to help students and technicians succeed. The Foundation’s Vision 2024 goal strongly focuses on certifying more technicians to combat the industry workforce shortage. Jason Blake, COO and Executive Vice President of the Foundation stated: “The efforts of The AED Foundation’s accredited colleges and dealers to implement new testing solutions during this time displays a commitment to education and workforce development within the industry that will build a bright future of skilled technicians.”   

The AED Foundation is proud of the accredited school programs and dealers they have been able to assist in achieving this high number of certified technicians despite the challenges the past few months have presented. The Foundation will continue to look for ways to improve students’ and technicians ’ experiences and accommodate them through whatever difficulties may arise.  

Jumpstarting the COVID-19 Recovery: Equipment Manufacturers and Infrastructure Play Key Roles

By Kate Fox Wood, AEM Senior Director, Government Relations

 Equipment manufacturers, now more than ever, are doubling down on efforts to communicate to lawmakers about the important role federal infrastructure investment should play as part of our national economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate Fox Wood

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, AEM sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leadership urging them to include infrastructure investment in a government relief package. AEM supported an effort to provide additional emergency funds for state departments of transportation facing severe revenue shortfalls. AEM Chair Jeffrey Reed and CE Sector Board Chairman Rod Schrader wrote directly to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about the importance of her leadership in ensuring Congress follows through with infrastructure investment this year. AEM played a key role in the release of a national rural roads report issued by TRIP that has been shared widely with policymakers.

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website

During dozens of calls with lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, equipment manufacturers have reiterated their commitment to keep facilities open while keeping their employees safe, and acknowledged the important role they play in supporting the nation’s critical essential infrastructure workforce like construction, utilities, and agriculture.

Equipment manufacturers also continue to make a strong case for why infrastructure investment should be a key part of any COVID-19 economic recovery plan. There is a proven track record for predictable, long-term infrastructure investment in providing jobs and boosting economic activity.

Infrastructure investment ensures critical supply chain needs can continue to be met now and in future. We cannot assume that supply chain disruptions will not develop further down the recovery timeline. Our country must be ready to weather unforeseen headwinds. U.S. roads, highways, bridges, ports, waterways, utility systems, and broadband networks must be primed and ready to adapt. We need infrastructure legislation that is bipartisan. We need infrastructure legislation that includes a plan to train a workforce that maintains and operates these important networks. We need infrastructure legislation that embraces the use of smart technology. And we need infrastructure legislation that is fully funded and long-term.

As policymakers chart a path forward during these uncertain times in our nation’s history, one thing is clear: meaningful investment in infrastructure is as important as ever. Equipment manufacturers look forward to advancing this goal, and continuing to support industries that build, feed, and fuel the world.

To learn more about AEM’s efforts to support the equipment manufacturing industry, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website. If you have questions or need to get a hold of AEM staff, please e-mail our Response Team at responseteam@aem.org.

Subscribe to our AEM newslettersfor more AEM news and updates.

Positive, Objective Approach to COVID-19 Pays Dividends for Elliott Equipment Company

By Mike Schmidt, AEM Industry Advisor Editor

A little bit of positivity can go a long way during the most trying of times.

The way Jim Glazer sees it, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a seemingly never-ending set of challenges and opportunities over the course of the last few months. However, in taking an objective approach to COVID-19, planning appropriately and – most importantly – viewing ever-changing circumstances through a positive lens, Glazer and his employees at AEM member company Elliott Equipment Company (Elliott) have been ready for whatever has come their way.

“Our approach to COVID-19 has brought our team closer together, and we’ve been willing and able to work closely with one another and make adjustments along the way,” said Glazer, the president and CEO of the Omaha, Nebraska-based manufacturer of telescopic truck mounted aerial work platforms, cranes and digger derricks. “The way we see it, there are challenges and opportunities, not problems. And looking at (the pandemic) that approach has served us well.”

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website

DEALING WITH DISRUPTION

While Glazer readily admits COVID-19’s impact on his company has been “disruptive to say the least,” Elliott’s leaders have remained steadfastly focused on ensuring the safety of its employees and customers. Whether it has been complying with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, embracing social distancing, facilitating the ability for certain employees to work remotely, using masks on the shop floor, or establishing new cleaning and sanitizing practices, Glazer and his colleagues are doing whatever they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19, all while continuing to be as productive as possible.

“We’ve been working throughout the pandemic as an essential business, and Nebraska has been more open that most states,” said Glazer. “Like a lot of other AEM members it’s made planning different for us because there’s such a wide range of potential scenarios for us to account for.”

A willingness to work together in an effort to overcome challenges, along with remaining steadfastly focused on supporting employees and customers, has allowed Glazer and his fellow leaders at Elliott to find some silver linings amidst the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve really tried to embrace and use new technology with our teams, like videoconferencing, and we’ve also used some of our time to conduct some extra training with our employees,” he said. “It’s also allowed us some time to refine some things related to how we go to market and who we go to market with. We’ve been able to do a lot of things in a very condensed time because of the minimal amount of distractions.”

STAYING ‘ON THE SAME PAGE’

It’s no secret effective communication has been a critically valuable tool for organizations of all types and sizes during the ongoing pandemic. According to Glazer, all-company meetings have helped Elliott’s leaders stay on the same page with employees, while newsletters and other written communications have allowed the organization to share important information with customers and distributors alike.

Remaining in touch with its workforce has also allowed company officials to gain feedback from employees about how they’re navigating the pandemic.

“It’s been both good and bad,” said Glazer. “On the good side, people have really enjoyed having some more free time and being able to share it with family. When there is such a significant shift in in your life, there are really things that come about that you may have taken for granted in the past. I think that’s what happened here. But overall, I think people are quite anxious to return things to normal.”

GETTING BACK TO WORK

And what is “normal” at this point? It’s really anybody’s guess, but Glazer said it involves being able to make sure people can be as effective as possible while on the job.

“I think people appreciate going to work,” he continued. “It really does give people a sense of normalcy, and they are able to see and socialize with the people they work with. All the technology and videoconferencing is great, but there’s really no substitute to being face to face.”

While it’s difficult for anyone to truly know what the future holds as it relates to navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Glazer said he and his colleagues at Elliott are staying true to their values of safety, customer satisfaction, culture and sustainability.

“The biggest challenge has been the degree of uncertainty in the environment,” said Glazer. “Things are changing way faster and more broadly than normal.  Trying to piece all of the moving parts together and understand what’s going on – without ever really stopping – has been the most challenging thing for us.”

That said, the Elliott President and CEO remains optimistic about the future of both his company and the equipment manufacturing industry overall.

“As the situation evolves, everyone is learning and adapting as we continue to go down the road,” said Glazer. “And, I think as things really start to open up, people will just get more and more confident about heading out and getting everything going again.” 

To learn more about AEM’s efforts to support the equipment manufacturing industry, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website. If you have questions or need to get a hold of AEM staff, please e-mail our Response Team at responseteam@aem.org.

Subscribe to our AEM newslettersfor more AEM news and updates.

Construction Employment Sees Record Rebound in May, Says ABC

The construction industry added 464,000 net new jobs in May, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May represented the largest monthly increase in construction jobs since the government began tracking employment in 1939, a drastic improvement from April, which recorded the industry’s largest month-over-month job loss.

While nonresidential construction employment lost more than 570,000 jobs on net in April, a total of 237,000 net new jobs were added in May with job gains in all three nonresidential subsegments. May 2020 nonresidential employment was 286,000 jobs lower compared to May 2019.

The construction unemployment rate fell to 12.7% in May, up 9.5 percentage points from the same time last year, but down 3.9 percentage points from April 2020. Unemployment across all industries fell to 13.3% in May, down from 14.7% in April.

“One way to look at this stunning jobs report is to suggest that economists missed the mark by approximately 10.5 million jobs,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecasted a decline exceeding 8 million jobs. Instead, the economy added a bit more than 2.5 million jobs. It’s also possible that economists missed the mark by two to four weeks, as the economy opened up faster than most economists expected and consumers have been far more willing to engage the economy than many thought possible given the ongoing personal and public health risks presented by COVID-19.

“For contractors, this is purely good news,” said Basu. “With the economy beginning its recovery sooner and more dramatically than anticipated, fewer projects are likely to be postponed or canceled. Combined with rising contractor confidence, as indicated by ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, this will also help accelerate the recovery of state and local government finances as tax collections surge, ultimately resulting in more monies available to finance infrastructure. That said, state and local government finances remain in tough shape, with many local government workers losing jobs in May.“Make no mistake—these remain treacherous times,” said Basu. “Though economic recovery may have begun, there is still the possibility of a resurgence in infections as stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen. Moreover, while unemployment dipped to 13.3% in May, it remains elevated. Labor force participation has been rocked in recent months, and it may be the case that many dislocated workers, including construction workers, will remain out of the labor force for an indefinite period. There is also a presidential election later this year, which will create further uncertainty for economic decision makers, including among those who purchase construction services.”

Visit abc.org/economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, GDP and the Producer Price Index.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.   

Nonresidential Construction Spending Falls in April, Says ABC

National nonresidential construction spending decreased by 1.8% in April, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published today by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, spending totaled $801.8 billion for the month, a 0.9% increase from April 2019.

Of the 16 subcategories, 13 were down on a monthly basis. Private nonresidential spending declined 1.3% in April, while public nonresidential construction spending was down 2.5% for the month.

“Nonresidential construction has fared far better than most economic segments during the COVID-19 crisis, but the industry’s headline spending numbers fail to fully capture the damage inflicted on many key segments by the pandemic,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.  “For instance, spending in the lodging category was down more than 12% in April relative to a year ago and down 11% in the amusement and recreation category. Spending is also down meaningfully in a number of categories that are public-sector intensive, including education and highway/street.

“In much of the nation, construction was deemed an essential industry, which helped to mitigate spending decreases,” said Basu. “But in many places, including in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Pennsylvania and California, construction was deemed nonessential. That has rendered ongoing work and backlog—which stood at 7.8 months in April, according to ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator—less of an effective shield against the early stages of the broader economic downturn than it is normally. The nonresidential construction spending data would have been far worse but for a massive increase in spending in the public safety category, which is up 35% year over year due to investments made to shore up capacity to deal with COVID-19.

“As the nation slowly reopens, nonresidential contractors will face many challenges,” said Basu. “State and local government finances have been compromised, jeopardizing infrastructure spending going forward. Many office suites and storefronts have been vacated, which will suppress demand for new construction going forward. Capital will also be scarcer, resulting in greater difficulty securing financing for projects. Moreover, if the past is prologue, many dislocated construction workers will find jobs in other industries, given construction’s tendency to be among the last economic segments to fully recover.”

Visit abc.org/economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, GDP and the Producer Price Index.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org