The Future of Training

MBCEA In the News,

The Future of Training

Fulfilling MBCEA’s mission will meet the training needs of the industry

The mission of the Metal Buildings Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA) is the professional advancement and development of metal building contractors, erectors and our industry as a whole. That statement guides our efforts in everything we do.

This year’s national conference is focused on the training needs of field personnel in addition to the management track topics we offer every year. Temporary bracing in the field, bolting, and crane signaling and rigging are three topics we are offering for field personnel. The conference is also a chance for national recognition with our Building of the Year competition.

The training curriculum has been kick-started by a generous commitment from the Ketenbrink Education Foundation, but we need the financial support of our industry to complete this million-dollar, multi-year initiative that will benefit all of us

AC478, our signature quality initiative, was developed as a direct result of members who wanted to differentiate themselves from the other guys: the low bid, poor quality erectors who give our industry a bad name. AC478 Accreditation ensures our members are recognized for their commitment to safety, quality processes and metal building assembly training.

The biggest hurdle we will face in the coming years is a lack of workers; Not just skilled workers, workers period. Undoubtedly, labor is, and will continue to be, the most limiting factor for our industry’s continued success. Consider for a moment these statistics: At least 52% of construction workers are over the age of 40 and fewer than 20% are younger than 30. At least 30% of all construction workers do not consider English their primary language; many crews speak only Spanish.

It is important to keep these stats in mind when we consider any plans for workforce development. We need to develop training tools that are designed for the way young people learn today, which involves YouTube, gaming and interactive on-line tools as opposed to classrooms and textbooks. Equally important, all of our training materials, documents and even drawings need to be available in both English and Spanish.

As previously reported, MBCEA, the Metal Buildings Institute (MBI) and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) have embarked on a new initiative to create a complete metal building assembly training curriculum, using a learning management system (LMS) that goes deep enough to qualify as a formal apprenticeship program and is robust enough to create craft workers skilled in the unique needs of metal buildings. Safety and building integrity will be emphasized in every module, and every module will be available in both English and Spanish. The project has been kick-started by a generous commitment from the Ketenbrink Education Foundation, but we need the financial support of our industry to complete this million-dollar, multi-year initiative that will benefit all of us. Please visit for information on this project and details on how to pledge your support.

Many of you remember Metal Construction Hall of Famer Bob Ketenbrink, Spacemark Inc., Decatur, Ill. Did you know that Bob and his wife Bev created a foundation dedicated to the training needs of metal building assemblers? The foundation will match all funds raised for our new LMS up to $500,000 and the Ketenbrink’s legacy will live on with each new worker we develop. More importantly, we will deliver a transformative learning experience that changes the way our industry recruits, develops and retains new workers.

We believe our national conference, AC478 and this new LMS are the tools we need to fulfill the mission of the MBCEA. It is our sincere goal to inspire, recruit and train future generations of craft professionals while continuing to shape positive perceptions of the metal building industry. If you are not already a member, please consider a membership today. Visit for more reasons to join.

Please get on our website and enter the Building of the Year awards. Go to to register for a chance at national recognition for your best building project.

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.