The Importance of Empowering Young Professionals

The Importance of Empowering Young Professionals

Associated General Contractors of Washington – Save the Associations Vol. 8

With more than 600 member companies, the Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC of Washington) has a deep understanding of what challenges are occurring in the workforce. “Our members are struggling to attract and retain young employees,” shared David D’Hondt, Executive Vice President of AGC of Washington. While at the same time, “It is very obvious the workforce is getting younger.”

To help overcome this struggle, the AGC of Washington created a future leaders program – the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

Construction Leadership Council

In order to get the attention of the younger generations and show that construction is a good career, AGC of Washington is listening to the younger generations and is incorporating a wide variety of opportunities into the CLC based on what they are hearing.

CLC members can choose from an assortment of professional development and leadership classes. This carries significant value to the membership at large. AGC of Washington member companies “appreciate the leadership opportunities we give to the younger generations because the skills learned are reflected well in the workforce,” said D’Hondt.

AGC of Washington also believes that when given the opportunity, the younger generations will engage and contribute. As an example, the Tech Task Force was created, allowing the association to tap into the technological advice of the CLC. “If we talk about social media strategies, devices, etc., we use them as a resource to find out where we need to go,” shared D’Hondt.

The most beloved CLC project is the annual challenge to create an event that everyone on the council members’ email/social media lists would want to attend. Given $50,000 and tasked to lead and create an event to attract new people to the industry, this initiative gives CLC members valuable leadership experience. However, “we can’t leave them on an island,” said D’Hondt. To guide the initiative, association leadership stays plugged in, further fostering relationships between CLC members and association leadership.

For the first event in 2016, CLC rented out a movie theater and had 240 people attend. In 2018, they hosted a Lakeside Luau with an expected attendance of nearly doubled.

CLC as Association Leadership

The CLC has also had a big impact on the association’s leadership structure. Leaders from CLC have advanced to taking part in association committees, and its influence has led to four Millennials currently serving on the association board.

Advice for Other Associations

“If you don’t take the time to engage a generation of workers, you are going to lose a generation of workers,” said D’Hondt. “You need to make yourself attractive to the younger generations, and you need to listen to those generations to determine what they want.”

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