March 2016—The role that certification can play in charting a career path in the crane, rigging, and specialized transport industries was a major theme of the second Lift & Move USA careers event, held in February at the Houston, Texas, headquarters of TNT Crane & Rigging. More than 650 high school and college students and military veterans learned how vocational training and certification can provide a viable career path as an alternative to four-year collegiate degrees.
Courtney Lockwood, Recruiting Manager with Bengal Industries, Geismar, LA, explained how specialized certifications (including the full range of CCO certifications) are a common requirement for most jobs in the industry now. Lockwood informed the throng of potential future employees that employers look for people with nationally recognized and accredited certifications given that such third-party certifications have proven to be so valuable as a hiring tool.
NCCCO’s Director of Operations and Program Development, Joel Oliva, who emceed the event, was impressed at how well received the certification message was. “Eyes light up when you explain how certification can provide a pathway to a lucrative, professional career,” he said. “Among vocational counselors, it might be the industry’s best kept secret—and that’s what Lift & Move is here to change.”
While the industry is suffering from a skills shortage nationwide, the trend is particularly acute in the fast-growing Houston area, where there are reported to be thousands of unfilled jobs. This labor shortage is expected to drive up wages as employers compete for the best employees.
In addition to learning about the industry and future trends, attendees also learned valuable tips from the panel of experts on how to get a job, and heard first-hand testimony of how satisfying and lucrative a career in cranes and rigging can be. Students were also given the opportunity to try their hand at crane simulators, and quiz the sponsors and experts on the best way to get started in the industry.
The event, the second in the series (the inaugural event was held last fall in Chicago) will be followed later this year by similar regional events in Long Beach, CA, and Graham, NC. NCCCO is one of three co-organizers of the Lift & Move initiative, along with SC&RA and KHL Group.