Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Date of this Version



53rd ASC Annual International Conference Proceedings, pp 281-289



Copyright 2017 by the Associated Schools of Construction


With a looming shortage of skilled craft workers forecast to exceed 2 million by 2017, prefabrication may become a necessity for many U.S. contractors attempting to remain competitive with a smaller, lower-skilled workforce. Building components manufactured in a controlled, offsite environment have proven to reduce time, cost and site logistics while improving productivity, quality, safety and sustainability. However, entry-level workers, including more than 765,000 recession displaced manufacturing workers, often lack the basic skills necessary to retrain for jobs in manufactured construction. As a result, a $ 6.3M U.S. Department of Labor grant was awarded to an institutional consortium to develop online, contextualized training in manufactured construction and related manufacturing industries. Of more than 1,020 participants from 2012-16, learning outcomes from a focus group of 70 participants were statistically analyzed to compare the effectiveness of contextualized training among non-traditional student cohorts (e.g. older adults, veterans, women, minorities, etc.). Results indicate that graphic oriented, online training used in conjunction with traditional instruction, improved access and learning outcomes particularly among older adults, ethnic minorities and women.