Combatting the Skills Shortage in the Aggregate Industry

Sep. 21, 2021

The aggregate industry is literally foundational to the functioning of society.

Our work fuels the construction and infrastructure projects that make modern life possible. From skyscrapers, to highways, to drainage and more – aggregate materials are what our world is built on. Given its importance, you might expect the aggregate industry to be overflowing with talented workers and potential employees excited to help keep the world running.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

While there are certainly many great people in the industry, the field, as a whole, faces a major skills gap. The bottom line is that there are more open roles than there are skilled people to fill them. This means that aggregate businesses often face difficulties in delivering crucial services and products.

Here’s how that plays out – and what we’re doing about it.

The Challenge

First, let’s unpack the problem in a bit more detail.

It’s worth noting that the aggregate industry isn’t alone in facing a skilled labor shortage. A study by Deloitte found that across the manufacturing world, the problem is the same, and it’s driven by a variety of factors:

  • Younger generations are more likely to have misconceptions about the benefits and opportunities offered by hands-on jobs.
  • A cultural focus on college education has pulled many younger workers away from trade schools.
  • The Baby Boomer generation is retiring, leaving an outsized proportion of seats that need to be filled.

All of these trends combine to create open seats; the data suggests that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled by 2030, costing the US economy as much as $1 trillion.

The aggregate industry is included within that. Things are made more difficult by competition within our niche; with a limited number of skilled candidates and a greater number of needs, companies are left competing against each other to fill positions.

It’s a sizable challenge, but, at Mellott Company, it’s a challenge we’re intent on combatting.

How We Build Skills to Overcome the Shortage

There are two ways that a skills gap can be filled: by bringing in new talent, or by equipping existing talent with new skills.

At Mellott Company, we’re committed to doing both. Here’s how.

1. Recruiting top talent.

We’ve built a variety of connections and programs to appeal to talented individuals. These range from middle school and high school showcases, to college scholarship funds, to tradeshow events. We bolster the appeal of our positions with competitive salaries and generous benefits.

We’re also proud of Mellott University, a program designed to prepare students for careers as service technicians and plant operators in the aggregate industry. Senior-year high school students can get credit toward their education while building hands-on skills working with real crushing equipment. Upon graduation, students have a head-start on obtaining a position with Mellott Company.

2. Helping employees to level up.

We don’t just focus on bringing in new talent. We also are dedicated to helping existing employees improve their skills.

Mellott University, for example, isn’t just for high school students – it’s also part of the onboarding for new hires.

Through the process, we help new workers build essential industry skills.

Another program we’ve built, Learn and Earn, is designed to help experienced workers add additional competencies. We offer high-performing individuals the chance to learn additional technical skills from a mentor. When the mentee can demonstrate that they’re proficient in the new skills, both the mentee and the mentor receive financial compensation. From there, the mentee has the opportunity to put their new skills to use in the field.

These programs are only the beginning; as we’ve written before, our employees are entered into ongoing educational initiatives. This continual education is how specific skills get taken to the next level. For instance, you might learn basic machine function at Mellott University – but, through continuing education, you might learn how to completely take apart and rebuild a machine.

All of these initiatives are made possible by our unique position at Mellott Company:

  • We’re benefitted by buy-in on the importance of education from our ownership.
  • We have a deep staff of experienced, skilled workers who are able to help mentor other employees on a wide variety of skills.
  • We have access to real-world crushing equipment and lab-built models to help students with hands-on learning.
  • We’ve built programs that are designed to make skill transfer more efficient; we know that everyone learns differently, and we’ve created our training accordingly.

The Outcome

The end result of our initiatives is that our employees have both a wide breadth of skills and a deep grasp on the skills they have. This leads to personal growth for our people and better service for our customers.

Ultimately, that’s what matters.

Yes, there is a skills gap in the aggregate industry, and in some areas, it may only get worse. But, at Mellott Company, we’re gratified to see that the measures we’ve taken to recruit and educate top talent are paying off. We’re bridging the gap and continuing to provide top-quality service for all of your crushing needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services or about careers at Mellott Company, don’t hesitate to reach out today.

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