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Let's work together to develop
a new generation of skilled professionals
for the building industry

Collaboratively Developing

a New Workforce

for the Building Industry

The BuildingXperience Institute works with building industry leaders, trade organizations, government, educators, and technology leaders to create immersive learning for the building industry

The Skilled Worker Shortage and

the Training Needed to Attract and Educate

the Next Generation of Building Professionals

The Shortage of Skilled Labor Impacts Both Commercial and Residential Construction in the U.S.

The Associated General Contractors 2024 Construction Outlook National Survey summarizes the difficulties contractors face finding workers with adequate skill levels in the U.S. “The results of this year’s Workforce Survey highlight significant shortcomings in the nation’s approach to preparing workers for careers in construction. Eighty-five percent of firms report they have open positions they are trying to fill, and among firms with openings, 88 percent are having trouble filling at least some of those positions – particularly among the craft workforce that performs the bulk of the on-site construction work.”

Contractors with job openings are having a hard time filling them
88%
Inexperienced skilled labor is impacting worker safety & health
81%
Contractors report applicants lack the skills needed to work in construction
68%

This report clearly underscores the need for the kind of training that BuildingXperience Institute can deliver. “One of the main reasons labor shortages are so severe in the construction industry is that most job candidates are not qualified to work in the industry. A shocking 68 percent of firms report applicants lack the skills needed to work in construction.” The report also shows that contractors are boosting spending on training and professional development programs.

This skilled worker shortage in the building industry has significant impacts throughout our country. Just one example of this is the shortage of available housing and its high cost. We feel that these issues could be mitigated by having a skilled workforce with deep industry knowledge and skills. To understand the scope of the problem, in their January 26, 2024 analysis, Moody’s Analytics estimated that there is a total housing deficit of 1.5-2 million units with a shortfall of 1.2-1.2 million single-family housing units. In March, 2024, the Economic Report of the President suggested that there is a nationwide shortage of 1.5 to 3.8 million homes. With direct and indirect labor costs representing 30 to 50% of the total home construction costs, and contractors having difficulty finding skilled workers, it is critical to increase both the number and efficiency of skilled workers to meet this need.

(As of April 30, 2024, the building industry had 338,000 job openings  according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.)

An Innovative Training Solution is Needed

Developing a skilled workforce is critical to both commercial and residential construction. The industry needs a new educational program that attracts potential workers, encourages them to choose construction as a career, and gives them the skills necessary to succeed in the real world. This is exactly where BuildingXperience fits in.

The BuildingXperience program will attract young talent with its innovative approach and it will provide people with the skills they need to be successful in these critical areas:

  • Product knowledge
  • Installation / application skills
  • Teamwork
  • Communication skills
  • General building industry knowledge
BuildingXperience Institute Compass Infographic

With the mastery of these areas, students will be well prepared to make significant contributions to the building industry as the next generation of building professionals.

BuildingXperience is different from any previous training program and it will set new standards for industry wide training programs. In addition to teaching the skills required for success on the job site, it will help the building industry with two major issues it faces:

  • How do you attract a new workforce?
  • Once you have attracted a new workforce, how do you teach the skills needed in a compelling way?

Understanding

the Next Generation

of Building Professionals

A Generation With Few Vocational Skills Training Opportunities in K-12

There was a time when pursuing a career in the building industry seemed like a very reasonable decision. Schools taught basic vocational skills that made the tools utilized in the building industry somewhat familiar and the skills learned in classes could translate into into jobs in industry.

  • In kindergarten many schools had simple woodworking supplies and hand tools like saws and hammers that children could use to make things and explore their creativity.
  • Junior high schools had “shop” programs where students learned basic woodworking, metal metal fabrication, electronics, etc. and they experienced the satisfaction that comes from “building” something with their own hands.
  • In high school there were opportunities for students to learn about and prepare for careers in vocational trades.

With the exposure to these programs, the thought of a career in the building industry where one could be part of a team that constructs the places people live, shop, work and play seemed like a reasonable prospect to many.

Unfortunately, for the building industry, and for many students that didn’t benefit from this shift, these programs were pulled from many K-12 schools in favor of focusing on a curriculum that would help students pass standardized tests and prepare for higher education opportunities.

BuildingXperience Institute Mentoring

As a result of the shift in the educational programs (primarily in junior high and high schools), there has been a significant decline in students with basic vocational training that would easily translate to success on construction job sites.

It is important to note that while some states have begun to implement vocational programs back into their public high schools, the lack of these programs has had a significant effect on the jobs students consider when they look forward to their careers. It is not surprising that most young people seem to favor opportunities that require skills they are familiar with or aspire to as explained in the next section.

Heavy Users of "Screen Media"

Today, “building things” has been replaced by “preparing for standardized testing and college” in schools, and “entertainment screen media” is playing a huge role in children’s lives. In 2021 The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, more than 1,306 U.S. 8 to 18-year-olds were surveyed about their relationship with media. While all the reports findings are instructive, two areas in particular are helpful to understand when we look at creating training for the next generation of building professionals:

  • How much time do tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) and teens spend each day on screen media
  • What is the proportion of screen time devoted to various activities by age

Note: Tweens Segment does not total 100% due to rounding.

This study does not include the time students spent using devices for their schoolwork. Here are a couple of the major points that we need to address with attracting and educating a new workforce for the building industry:

  • 75% of teens are spending more than 4 hours per day using screen media and 41% are spending more than 8 hours per day
  • On average, 8- to 12-year-olds use about five and a half hours of screen media per day (5:33), while 13- to 18-year-olds use about eight and a half hours
    (8:39)

With the lack of building industry visibility / training in these areas, it is not surprising that with young minds occupied to such a great extent in their screen media that they do not have interest in or the technical / communication / teamwork skills to be successful in the building industry.

Note: Teens Segment does not total 100% due to rounding.

BuildingXperience Institute Social Media Infographic

Influenced by Time Spent with Screen Media

it is instructive to see how the increasing time children spend with screen media has influenced children’s career aspirations. This is reflected in the 2017 First Choice survey of 1,000 children where more than a third of the children expressed their desire to be a YouTuber and nearly a fifth wanted to work as a blogger or vlogger. (Note that the survey allowed them to pick multiple answers so the total % is more than 100%)

BuildingXperience Institute Pencil Infographic

Looking at this list, we see that, as expected, the experience kids have in their daily lives (most spending several hours per day using screen media), influences how they think about the career opportunities. The BuildingXperience program understands that to be successful, we “go where the audience is” if we are to train them for careers in the building industry. To win the hearts and minds of the future workforce so “building” might become one of their career aspirations, the content must be compelling, it must provide them with skills and experiences they can translate to working on building sites and it must show them how a career in the building industry can fulfill their life aspirations.

Life Aspirations

It is important to understand the aspirations of potential skilled workers for the building industry when developing a plan for reaching and training them.

Key aspirations according to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 include:

  • Traveling / seeing the world
  • Earning high salaries / being wealthy
  • Owning their own homes
  • Making positive impacts on community / society
  • Starting a family / having children

An interesting point to note is that for young workers, making a positive impact on their community / society is a major influencer. 46% of Millennials and 47% of Gen Zs indicated making a positive impact on community / society was important to them.

BuildingXperience Institute Millennials vs. Gen Zs

BuildingXperience Training

for the Next Generation

of Building Professionals

BuildingXperience Institute Attracting Young Students

Reaching a New Workforce

BuildingXperience will reach young audiences by using the “media screens” they enjoy and use for hours every day. It will push the limits of deliverable technology to create visually compelling video content and immersive experiences that will rival the best online, console and computer games. Our teams will strive to make BuildingXperience training an activity people look forward to and one where they can feel great about telling their family and friends “what they built today” inside the immersive environment. To be successful in attracting a new workforce our training will:

  • Reach young minds in an engaging and familiar way
  • Communicate how working in the building industry aligns with students’ priorities and aspirations.
  • Be provided to students at reasonable cost (no cost from BuildingXperience)
  • Be created with the participation of the building industry
  • Leverage the technologies and young audiences of our existing partners in the technology space
BuildingXperience Institute VR Training in Class

Expanding the BuildingXperience Reach by Providing Our Training Program at "No Cost"

The BuildingXperience immersive training program will be provided at no cost to encourage its adoption by community colleges and training centers. It will also be made available online for others not attending formal education programs who want to learn about building, expand their current knowledge, or “retrain” for careers in the building industry.

The BuildingXperience Institute may also work with the industry to establish a certificate program for those who complete the training it that would be a further inducement for students. Additionally, we will work to encourage other organizations and foundations to provide scholarship funds for individuals who receive the training at community colleges or training centers. These funds would go directly from other organizations and foundations to training programs to help students cover some or all of the fees they would incur.

Powered by Unreal Engine

The BuildingXperience immersive training program will be powered by Unreal Engine, the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool. It is used wherever applications requiring the highest-fidelity, real-time 3D visuals are needed.

Unreal Engine will give our team the freedom and control to deliver this cutting-edge “immersive experience”. We call it “immersive” because VR headsets will be used to “transport” students to six different building sites where they will learn how to build each building from the ground up. Students will be able to “walk around” project sites, pickup and use tools, interact with other workers on the site, and they will gain “hands-on experience” installing every component of each building as they are guided by industry experts.

The BuildingXperience team already has a close relationship with Epic Games who makes Unreal Engine. Together we have showcased the world’s first 4K 60p live broadcast using Unreal Engine to power our virtual sets (see video tour of the Mars virtual set below) in StudioXperience at SIGGRAPH and the world’s first virtual set demo featuring real-time ray tracing in StudioXperience at NAB Show.

BuildingXperience Institute Pipes

The Training Experience: An Overview

BuildingXperience training will feature thousands of video segments (see video- pre-training info below) and six different immersive learning environments. The videos will prepare students for each task they will be performing inside the immersive learning environment. Once the student is confident they understand the proper installation methods for the product, they will then use the immersive learning environment (VR) to install or apply the product. The process will be repeated for each product that is used for the building so that students will have experience with all aspects of the building process for each of the six different buildings included in the immersive environment.

This form of “real-world practice” has been validated in hundreds of studies. It creates muscle memory and it helps students retain what they learn. Think of it as a game where each building is a new adventure and each trade is a different level in the adventure.

This environment will allow students to work alone or in teams to build six different buildings from the ground up. The teams can be in the same classroom, or there could be collaboration with individuals across the country.

Video Pre-Training Will Complement Learning in the Immersive Environment

BuildingXperience Institute Student Watching Video on Laptop

The BuildingXperience Institute will create thousands of videos for this project. These videos will help to “pre-train” students before they put on their VR headsets and “go to the job site”. These videos will be available will

  • Provide in-depth knowledge about every product that is utilized in the building process.
  • Educate students about each company that makes the tools and products they will be working with
  • Provide a vision for the industry though interviews with industry leaders
  • Help to enhance communications skills and teamwork
  • Show how each product is installed on each actual building so the student has an understand of what they need to do when they are in the immersive environment

Much of the video content will also be accessible from within the training environment so that when they are “installing” a product in the immersive environment, students can access the video showing the best practices for installing it.

We’re taking the pre-training approach based on studies which have demonstrated that pre-training leads to even better learning outcomes when combined with immersive training. Basically by learning what they need to know before going into the immersive environment, students will be more successful when they are “doing their work”.

Vendor Specific Approach

BuildingXperience Institute Building Materials

Rather than trying to make this project a “vendor neutral” program where products are generalized, BuildingXperience immersive training will allow students to learn about specific products, the companies who make the products, the specific tools that are chosen to install or apply them, and the role of each company in the industry. This approach will provide students with a far broader perspective on the building industry as a whole.

The Buildings

This immersive learning experience will provide students with in-depth product knowledge and experience building six types of buildings

Commercial

The Class A commercial building will include a large reception lobby, classrooms, a presentation theater, offices, a large sound stage, a kitchen, a café area and state-of-the-art broadcast facilities. The design will focus on impact while leveraging cost-effective building techniques. The building will be highly energy efficient and responsive to its environment.

Hospitality

The boutique hotel will feature a great guest experience. The design will allow for a natural flow from check-in, to sleeping, to bathing and to dining. Complicated steel stud framing systems, large window walls and high-end finishes will be featured in the large communal spaces.

Office

The office building will incorporate smart features including self-adjusting lighting and window shades, the ability to personalize heat and light settings for one's immediate space, circadian lighting systems that mimic natural daylight and heating and cooling systems that adjust automatically according to weather and occupancy.

Single Family Residence

The single family residence will give a nod to the past while integrating construction and building technologies that will help promote green living. This smart, connected home will help students understand the construction techniques used in many of the existing homes in the US while pushing boundaries with the newest building and systems innovations.

Multi-Family

Urbanization, demographic changes, affordability, sustainability and the digital economy are all factors that will play into the design of the multi-family housing building. The building will have a futuristic, aesthetically pleasing design, It will feature built-in wellness amenities and extensive use of new technologies to enhance sustainability.

Sustainable Cabins

While reminiscent of the cabin designs of old, the sustainable cabins will feature new building systems and will be be built with environmentally conscious products and methods. They will also integrate cutting-edge technologies that will showcase the ability of the structures to match their occupants digital lifestyle.

The BuildingXperience Team

BuildingXperience Institute Organization 2
The BuildingXperience Institute works with building industry leaders, trade organizations, government, educators, and technology leaders to create immersive learning for the building industry

Building Industry Leaders

A wide range of building industry leaders will support the BuildingXperience Institute. Some will play advisory roles while many will be participating with their teams to help us design their products into the buildings students will be building in the immersive training environment. Their teams will also participate in the video segments that will educate students about the specific products and how they are properly installed in each area of each building. In addition to leaders from suppliers to the building industry, we are expecting innovative civil engineering, architectural, and construction management firms to participate as well. These companies will be key contributors helping us with the design-build process and with how we translate designs and the actual building process into an immersive training curriculum.

 

Industry Associations

BuildingXperience will also collaborate with industry organizations interested in, and helpful to our efforts. We anticipate numerous areas of mutual benefit where initiatives can be mutually leveraged. 

Here’s a partial list of the organizations we feel may participate with us in our efforts to help train the next generation of building professionals:

Technology Innovators

The BuildingXperience Institute will benefit from the close relationship the founder has formed with leading technology companies over the last 25 years. We will invite many of these companies to join us in our efforts. Together, we will push the boundaries of VR and gaming technology to deliver a groundbreaking educational experience that will set new standards for immersive learning experiences.

Some of the better known companies in this group include: CanonDellEpic GamesHPIntelLenovoNvidiaNewTek, and Zero Density.

BuildingXperience Institute Waskul.TV Productions

Film and Audio Production Specialists

Filmed content will play a major role in the immersive training experience. Thousands of interviews will be conducted with industry executives, project and product managers, architects, civil engineers, city and county officials, and trade association representatives just to name a few. The BuildingXperience team will excel in this area leveraging a record of “broadcast industry firsts” from events attended in North America and Europe. The workflows already established, from production through final content delivery to a global audience, will give the BuildingXperience Institute a world-class production capability.

BuildingXperience Institute Game Developers

Game Developers

A critical key to our success will be the actual team members producing the immersive training experience. This team will include art, animation, design and UX directors, programming leads and a team of talented 3D artists and game developers. We’ve been fortunate to build relationships with many creative artists and game developers who have done amazing work in these areas and we will leverage these contacts to help build an exceptional production team for BuildingXperience.

BuildingXperience Institute apprentices

Education Experts

It is important to us that our immersive training serves a wide audience and meets the needs of educators in community colleges, training centers and high schools.  We will seek advisors from each of these areas to find ways to create our content so that the BuildingXperience immersive training program can help them in their vocational training efforts.

 

Let's Work Together to Develop

the Next Generation

of Building Professionals

Working together, we can solve the long-standing need for skilled labor in the building industry. We will provide the industry with an educated labor force that

  • Understands the features and benefits of all the materials and products showcased in BuildingXperience
  • Has been trained how to install / apply each product in accordance with the manufacturers’ best practices and procedures
  • Understands the industry itself, and the vision industry leaders have for its future
  • Has learned teamwork and communication skills that will be important as they transition into the work force

BuildingXperience training will prepare students to step forward with confidence as they journey onto building sites across this country and gain job site experience on their way to becoming the next generation of building professionals.

Regardless of the role you or your organization plays in the industry, we welcome your help in this important mission.

There is a lot more to this plan than we can possibly outline here so please give us the opportunity to discuss how your organization can participate in, and benefit from, BuildingXperience.

Let’s meet soon to consider the possibilities and to develop a program for you or your organization that will best help you participate with us in developing the next generation of building professionals through the BuildingXperience immersive training program!

Ready to Roll?