The construction industry is facing an unprecedented labor shortage that has disrupted the overall growth of the industry and sent contractors into a tailspin as they seek out solutions for driving new talent into the hiring pool. Although the construction industry is steeped in tradition, new methods are being put into action to attract more workers, and many of these methods involve the use of cutting-edge technologies.
One example of how the industry is embracing technology to generate excitement working in construction is through the use of virtual reality training simulators. In this article, a construction lawyer in Franklin, TN, from Cotney Construction Law will discuss how this technology is being used to encourage people to open their eyes to the benefits of working in our great industry.
From Simulation to Realization
With the use of $80,000 Caterpillar simulators, students can operate authentic loaders and excavators without leaving the safety of their classroom. Similar to driving simulators used in drivers’ education classes, the inputs and controls directly mirror what would be found in an actual rig. More importantly, for the uninitiated, these simulators make learning fun and have the look and feel of a videogame.
Once students experience working with the simulator, they’re more likely to want to work in the field using the real thing. Additionally, students can’t get hurt while using virtual reality, which prevents them from being dissuaded to join the industry as a result of an injury. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is currently investing in these machines.
A Virtual Step in the Right Direction
According to KTVN, students are embracing virtual reality training and the outlook for these machines is generally positive. For instance, students at the Academy For Career Education (ACE) in Nevada are enthusiastic about the simulators.
Trey Henry, a senior at ACE, told KTVN, “It’s like an arcade basically for construction workers. Once I graduate, I want to be able to operate heavy equipment and take the steps to proceed in that career.”
Craig Madole, CEO of AGC, noted that the construction industry is now competing with other industries for skilled hires. Industries like “advanced manufacturing” are currently vying with the construction industry for these students.
To make matters worse, the current workforce is aging, which means the demand for younger workers is at an all-time high. According to Madole, “The average age of a heavy equipment operator is probably late 40’s or even 50’s.” Therefore, it’s important to continue developing the incoming generation of workers to strengthen the construction industry’s future workforce.
If virtual reality continues to prove itself as an effective training tool, as well as a solution for combating the labor shortage, programs such as this will continue to expand for the good of the industry. Moreover, it will increase safety on the project site and reduce the likelihood of contractors having to deal with OSHA citations and workers’ compensation claims.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.