With Construction Worker Shortage, Building Institute Adds Latest Grads to Workforce


The Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky’s Enzweiler Building Institute celebrated the graduating class of 2018 earlier this month at a ceremony held at its Building Center in Erlanger.

“We are very proud of the 2018 graduates of the Enzweiler Building Institute. This group represents the fiftieth annual group of graduates as our post-secondary evening adult trade school finishes out our fiftieth year of providing trained trade professionals for our industry,” said Brian Miller, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky. “We have spent the recent years telling our story regarding the lack of skilled construction professionals in our region. The fact that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and our local Workforce Innovation Board, we need over 46,000 new trades people over the next ten years in the courses we offer is just a glimpse of the real workforce shortage we are experiencing. 

“To put it simply, we are at a level of shortage of skilled construction workers not seen since immediately following World War II. As a result of the short supply we are experiencing wage growth in these trades. Upon graduating from our program with a Journeyman’s certificate many of these trades are earning in the $40,000 to $50,000-plus wage level with no college debt. We are also experiencing a dwindling of construction managers and company owners as our workforce is aging out into retirement.  For that reason, we have articulated many of our courses with Gateway Community and Technical College where our graduates can earn college credit while attending our Institute with the hopes that they will gain business training that could help them earn a wage that averages $95,000 in our region according to the same sources.”

The keynote during the ceremony was delivered by Dr. Wayne Lewis, Kentucky Interim Education Commissioner. 

The Enzweiler Building Institute is the nation’s longest continually operating privately owned construction trade school. The program is an approved education provider for licensure with the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Department of Labor and Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction. The curriculum is recognized by the US Department of Labor. 

Students work during the day and attend the program two nights a week in the evening. 

During the 2017-2018 school year, there were 135 students enrolled in the program.

Enrollment is now open for the coming school year. Over 200 students are expected to be enrolled in the trade school during the 2018-2019 school year which begins in September. The program runs from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday from September through April, so enrollees can work during the day and take their courses in the evening.  

Job placement assistance is provided. 

The program offers two-year hands on certified programs in carpentry, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), masonry, and facilities maintenance. 

Electric is a four-year program and an incumbent one-year welding program is offered. 

The program has been nationally awarded “Best Workforce Development Program” by the National Association of Home Builders for five of the last seven years. 

The cost to attend the Enzweiler Building Institute is as low as $2,025 per year, depending upon timeliness of tuition payment. Some courses require materials or facilities costs between $100 to $250 per year. 

A High School daytime program was launched to introduce students to the construction trades. 

High School students from Boone County Schools, Ludlow High School, the Kenton County School District, and the Northern Kentucky Education Cooperative Service experience hands-on instruction at the Building Center Tuesday through Thursday during the school year.

Courses are taught in carpentry, electric, plumbing and HVAC. 

Other school systems that provide transportation are welcome to participate, however placements are limited.

The trade organization was awarded a Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative Grant of $2.69 million. Funds will be used to expand the capacity of the training programs at their current Boone County campus and to open a second campus in Campbell County.  When the project is complete the High School and evening adult post-secondary program will be able to double their capacity for training. 

The mission of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky is to promote and enhance the integrity and visibility of the construction industry and the members of the organization through advocacy, communication, education and political action. For more information about the 2018-2019 Enzweiler Building Institute’s school year visit the website here, or call Shawn Cox, director of professional development at 859.331.9500. 

Tours by appointment are provided. Space limitations result in certain classes filling. Those interested are encouraged to apply early to reserve their placement. 

-Staff report

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