The U.S. is facing the loss of a large number of experienced aggregate and mining workers with up to 46-percent of the industry’s baby boomer workforce set to retire in five years or less. Unfortunately, as most know, there are too few younger workers in the pipeline to replace them and very little time to capture the knowledge of experienced employees before they retire. Hence, there is an urgency to build upon existing and new local, regional, and national strategies for the education and recruitment of a future workforce.
Operations should be considering a variety of internship and apprenticeship programs. Certainly industry-education partnerships within high schools, community colleges, or in the first two years of higher education are proving critical to the nation’s mining future. Potential employees may not be aware of the new technologies involved in our industry that may be very attractive to younger workers – and most students, parents, and educators are not aware of the importance of the aggregate and mining industry to our economic and national security. Education is everything. Consider working within your state and national associations to develop programs that will help everyone better understand and appreciate our industry.