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Minnesota leads in efforts to professionalize construction industry

As president of the Saint Paul Building & Construction Trades Council, I am excited about the construction boom our state is experiencing. Several new projects have put our state on the map for major construction cycles. These projects mean more job opportunities, and that is a great thing for Minnesota families.

Minnesota’s construction industry has an opportunity for even more growth. But in order to grow, we must attract smart and hard-working people who desire to make construction their lifelong career. The construction trades are technical, scientific and complex. Modern-day construction workers need more than just physical skills to get the job done. The people who dedicate their careers to the construction industry deserve to work in an environment that reflects the professionalism the industry merits.

I am proud to say Minnesota is leading the effort to further professionalize the construction industry. Last week, our state’s largest continuing construction site, the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount, became the first PRO-10-certified organization in Minnesota. PRO-10 is a new voluntary program that teaches soft skills like safety, professionalism and teamwork. To achieve the certification, more than 75 percent of an organization’s construction workers must complete a 10-hour course within the first year of implementing the program. Flint Hills knows firsthand that one of the best ways to attract and maintain a quality work force is to establish a work environment that is safe and professional.

More than 8,500 Minnesota construction workers have received PRO-10 certification, and other states are looking to emulate our state’s innovative program. It’s a program that benefits companies, construction projects, and individual workers. I am hopeful that other Minnesota organizations will follow the example set by Flint Hills. As we approach these considerable construction periods, the time could not be riper for a concerted effort.

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