The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, April 25, 2014

Retaskie wins award for workplace efforts in U.P.

By The Building Tradesman

Upper Peninsula Construction Council Executive Director Tony Retaskie was named the grand prize winner of the 2014 W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award during a conference held March 29 through April 1 in Washington D.C.

The award is given by the National Association of Workforce Boards to “annually honor a business or business organization, on a national stage, that made the commitment of time, money and leadership to make their community’s workforce and economy more vibrant.”

The National Association of Workforce Boards said Retaskie’s “distinguished track record of success” led to the grand prize honor this year. Retaskie, the group said, “is a driving force within the region’s workforce investment system and is always looking for innovative ways to raise awareness in students about the construction trades.”

In addition to advancing the objectives of signatory contractors and building trades   in his position on the U.P. Construction Council, Retaskie is chairman of the Upper Peninsula Construction Regional Skills Alliance (RSA) and is a board member of Michigan Works! The Job Force Board.

“I am honored to receive this award and thankful that it helps put some of our efforts in the U.P. on the map,” said Retaskie.

Retaskie chairs the U.P.’s Regional Skills Alliance, an industry-led group, comprised of trade representatives and construction industry management, with a mission to recruit the best and brightest into the construction industry, by raising awareness among parents, students, job seekers, and educators.

The need for the alliance came to the forefront in good part because of demographics and economics. An estimated 40 percent of the U.P. construction workforce is set to retire in the next few years, and there’s a projected 8.4 percent growth rate in the construction industry through 2021.

Last fall the U.P. Construction RSA teamed up with Michigan Works! The Job Force Board, the Upper Peninsula Construction Council (UPCC), local educators, and union representatives to support the Industrial Trades Career Day in Escanaba. They brought together over $10,000 in sponsorships, upwards of $2,000 in donated materials, elicited countless volunteer hours, and secured the use of the local trades’ equipment. They interacted with more than 400 high school juniors and seniors from six school districts.

The UP Construction RSA provided leadership and guidance in the overall execution of the event from conception to evaluations and next-steps.