Developing a Workforce for Foxconn Mega-Project

In a special three-part series in the Milwaukee business journal AGC of Greater Milwaukee president and other construction professionals detail strategies on recruiting and building the construction work force.

Workforce diversity is a focal point in the series and, with the guidance of AGC, recruiting more minorities is a priority for the construction industry’s Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (BIG STEP). The opportunities in Racine with the Foxconn project has spurred BIG STEP to expand to Racine County and open training centers at Gateway Technical College’s Racine Campus. The program is focused on the recruitment and development of African Americans, Latinos and women. According to Mark Kessenich, President and CEO of BIG STEP “we want to make sure the programs in place, the systems in place, are actively seeking to bring new folks into the industry who haven’t had the opportunity, or didn’t think they had the opportunity”.

The Foxconn project is not only exciting because of the jobs it will initially create with the building of its facilities but in all the projects that follow. Mike Fabisak, discusses further, “Foxconn serves as the initiating development, but when you think about what will come as some of the consequential building – the vendors, the infrastructure, retail, possibly residential – I think this transforms the whole area”

Read the three-part special report here.

Learn more about the Foxconn project here.

Learn more about WRTP BIG STEP here.

U.S. adds 313,000 jobs in February in biggest gain in a year and a half

The numbers: The U.S. added 313,000 new jobs in February, the biggest gain in a year and a half and clear evidence that a strong economy has plenty of room to run.

The increase in hiring easily blew past the 222,000 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. Job gains in January and December were also much stronger than initially reported.

Despite the big increase in hiring, wage growth did not keep up. Hourly pay rose 4 cents to $26.75 an hour, but the yearly increase in wages tapered off. The 12-month increase in pay slipped to 2.6% from a revised 2.8% in January.

Still, the strong report makes it a virtual lock the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates when senior officials meet this month.

What happened: Warmer weather helped to boost hiring almost across the board in February after a harsh spell in January briefly kept thousands of people at home.

Construction companies hired 61,000 people to mark the biggest increase in 11 years. Retailers added 50,000 jobs, as did professional-oriented businesses. And manufacturers filled 31,000 positions.

Workers also put more time in on the job, reversing a weather-induced decline in the first month of the year.

What’s more, the economy added 54,000 more jobs in January and December than previously reported. Altogether, the economy has gained an average of 242,000 new jobs in the past three months. That’s much stronger than the 182,000 monthly average in 2017.

Yet even as the unemployment rate falls and firms complain more loudly about a shortage of skilled workers, they still aren’t really laying out the red carpet for new or old employees.

The amount a worker earns per hour has been rising gradually in the past few years, but wage gains still trail the 3% to 4% annual increases that typically prevail at the height of an economic boom.

Big picture: The modest growth in wages in February is likely to tamp down, at least for awhile, Wall Street worries about rising pay leading to higher inflation. A surge in pay in January helped ignite….

Full Article Here

Jake Jorgensen, VJS Partner and Project Manager, appointed as Chair of the AGC National CLC

VJS Construction Services is helping to lead the commercial construction industry forward!

Jake Jorgensen, VJS Partner and Project Manager, has been appointed to a one-year term as Chair of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) National Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

Jake’s dedication is an example of the leadership and engagement we have come to rely upon in from our local contractors, and his presence at the National level will be a great showcase for southeastern Wisconsin.

In this new position, Jake intends to focus on the AGC’s student chapters and student involvement. In a recent news release, he was quoted as saying, “I would like to help those involved in the AGC CLC to continue learning and honing their skills. I am glad that the AGC CLC can serve as a channel for this growth.”

His efforts were on display recently as he was a panelist before 260 attendees at the student chapter meeting at the AGC of America’s National Convention, where he and fellow speakers discussed Early Career Development.

To learn more about the local and national CLC Chapters, contact Nathan Jurowski, at or (414) 778-4100.