Lift & Move USA is an industry-led initiative to address the skills gap in the USA’s crane, rigging and specialized transport sectors. The program is aimed at high school and college students as well as veterans, and events will typically be attended by between 250 and 700 students.
The centerpiece of the program is regular events around the country, hosted by major players in the industry, that showcase the opportunities to build rewarding and successful careers. The workforce development outreach initiative was founded by SC&RA, SC&R Foundation, NCCCO and KHL in 2015 to showcase careers in specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations.
Lift & Move USA held two career exploration events in the fall of 2018, hosted by NessCampbell Crane + Rigging in Portland, OR, and Superior Cranes Inc., in Rockingham, N.C. More than 500 students and teachers attended the most recent two events alone, where they experienced authentic career learning opportunities, including the chance to try out welding and crane simulators, race against the clock in a chain fall competition, and see demonstrations of how fall protection works.
“We appreciate Lift & Move USA for what they are doing and know that the future in our industry is bright because of efforts like this,” said Kyle Belkoski, director of sales for Superior Cranes.
Among the equipment used in live demonstrations were NessCampbell’s Liebherr LTM 1400-7.1 500-ton all-terrain crane equipped with luffing jib and a 125-ton Dual Lane Transportor for hauling heavy loads. In addition, Morrow Equipment demonstrated a Liebherr 81K.1 fast-erecting crane. This was the first time in the history of Lift & Move USA that a tower crane was part of the program. Superior Cranes demonstrated transporting a load on a Nicholas 10-axle in-line platform trailer pulled by a 1979 American General M920 prime mover. The load, a 75-ton Link-Belt telescopic crawler crane weighing 145,470 pounds, was hoisted by a 440-ton Terex CC 2400-1 lattice boom crawler crane.
“Events like this are critical for taking the content and translating the skills needed by a specific industry into language used by educators for the future development of career and technical education programs of study,” said Steve Klein, director, Center for School, Family, & Community at Education Northwest.
“Lift & Move USA provided an authentic way for students to connect to learn about skills needed and careers available in this industry,” said Jennie Fennelle, senior advisor in the Center for School, Family, & Community at Education Northwest. “There’s nothing like getting to stand next to a 500-ton crane that puts learning in context for the student. The same information just doesn’t translate in a photo,” she said.
Key to success is the opportunity for employees of SC&RA member companies to share their personal stories about how they became involved in the business and their own career trajectories. It’s critical to pique students’ interest early in any number of relevant career and technical education (CTE) programs so they start down a path that may lead them to this industry.
Not surprising, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), high school graduation rates for students concentrating in CTE programs is higher than the national average. In addition, a person with a CTE-related associate degree or credential will earn between $4,000 and $19,000 more per year than a person with a humanities associate degree.
“Holding a Lift & Move event is the kickstart to our company’s efforts to build sustainable business and education partnerships in our community,” said Brian Schleicher, Director of Marketing & Communications for Superior Cranes. “We already have a close relationship with local Richmond Community College, which will continue to grow as we develop training and apprenticeship programs, and nurture our relationships with other schools in our area.”
“There is real interest by teachers to help young people understand the career path into our industry. Teachers were pleased that the message they work so tirelessly to promote was validated through the interactive stations and real-life skills demonstrated by our employees,” said Schleicher. In fact, Superior Crane’s efforts have already resulted in one new hire. A teacher put the company in touch with a recent high school graduate who had left the area to work for a steel erector in Florida. The young man jumped at the chance to return home and had already started work for Superior Cranes as a yard hand.
Meanwhile, Lift & Move USA was honored to join a select group of workforce development experts in a one-day summit, organized by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Participants included representatives from manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and other industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Labor.
The Summit was followed by a Career Pavilion, a career fair of sorts for career and technical educators. Antoy Bell of TNT Crane & Rigging, represented Lift & Move USA and SC&RA, where he shared an infographic explaining the specialized transport, crane, and rigging career opportunities.
“It was interesting to learn that despite coming from diverse businesses, we had many commonalities in the struggle to build a pipeline of skilled workers. We discussed best practices, the need for apprenticeship programs, tackled issues related to messaging, and discussed how we might leverage collaboration between our groups,” said Tracy Bennett, Director of Lift & Move USA. Two resources available through ACTE that SC&RA member companies may find useful are the Employer Engagement Toolkit and Building Advisory Boards that Matter. Purchase them at www.acteonline.org/shop.
SC&RA member companies are invited to participate these 2019 events. Contact Tracy Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
May 9: Webster, New York. Hosted by Boulter Industrial Contractors Inc.
May 30: Vaughan, Ontario. Hosted by The MATCOM Group.
Oct. 16: Longview, Texas. Hosted by BOSS Crane & Rigging and Bennett International Group.
Nov. 7: Houston, Texas. Hosted by Liebherr USA Co.