“The only thing limiting our future is the necessary skilled labor to assemble our buildings.”

A few years back, our sister organization, the Metal Buildings Institute (MBI) hosted a metal building summit. Leadership from several manufacturers and suppliers were present as well as key contractors and erectors. They met to discuss the future of the industry, to discuss how MBI could best assist. The quotes above are from that summit.

There was general agreement that the old way of recruiting and training no longer works. That erectors need access to affordable, quality training. That we need to promote construction as a viable career path; highlight how our trade dovetails with millennial key interests of teamwork, sustainability, sense of accomplishment, working outdoors, use of technology, etc.

The summit expressed a sincere interest in converting the existing MBI “Quality and Craftsmanship Series” to an online school as well as recognition that this series only scratched the surface. We needed a real curriculum with much more detailed content. There was also interest in a national database of skills.

The MBI and the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA) have been plugging away. We have updated and delivered new content to the “Quality and Craftsmanship Series,” produced a “Temporary Bracing Guide,” and are working with the National Council for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)—the recognized leader in construction education—to develop and deliver a metal building assembly program in a new, modern format designed around the way our target audience learns.

This is a million-dollar, multi-year investment in our future, and frankly, we need your help. I challenge each and every manufacturer and supplier to consider a future with no skilled labor.

What is it worth to you to have confidence your products are assembled and installed properly? Can you commit $10,000 per year for the next five years, $5,000 or perhaps more?

We continue to bemoan the labor shortage, but what are we truly doing about it? MBCEA is committed to meeting this problem head on. Perception and awareness are certainly part of the problem, but the root is training. Our members need access to quality training presented in the way students learn today, which, by the way, has more to do with smartphones and less to do with textbooks!

We need your help. It is time for YOU to commit.

Please contact Sasha Demyan at sdemyan@mbcea.org to pledge your support.


Jennifer Heimburger has been with Heimburger Construction Inc. since 1999. Her father, Bob Heimburger, started the family business in 1978. HCI has been affiliated with Butler Manufacturing since its inception. Both Jennifer and Bob have served on Butler's advisory council, and Jennifer was the first female chairman in 2016. HCI achieved the AC478 accreditation in 2021 and strongly supports the efforts of the MBCEA to help other erectors attain accreditation.