The Valley is amidst a building boom as the region benefits from the push to onshore semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing. A Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation Construction Workforce Report finds that the construction industry employed 193,500 people in Arizona in 2022 — up 7.9% from the year prior — and constitutes 5.2% of the state’s GDP. The industry also had an average growth rate of 5.3% year-over-year over the past decade, compared to the nationwide construction industry which has grown by an average rate of 3% per year, which has created a need for apprenticeship training. 

As more out-of-state developers see the value of Arizona’s location and pro-business environment, more groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings will happen within the state. The report warns, however, that “the state’s construction workforce supply is struggling to keep up with current demand. The increase in construction due to the robust migration of residents and businesses to the state has caused a shortage of workers, delaying construction projects.”

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While high schools and colleges across the state are offering more trades training in recent years, private industry is also stepping up and building their own training facilities to help meet the demand for labor. Here are three examples in the Valley. 


McCarthy Building Companies opened its Innovation and Craft Workforce Center (ICWC) in February 2023 to serve as home for the firm’s trades training programs. The 40,000-square-foot facility serves the company’s 500 Arizona-based and 2,000 regional craft workers. 

Eric Fields, vice president of operations for McCarthy, explains that the ICWC develops a talented construction force in two ways. If someone comes to McCarthy with experience, they may be enrolled into the ICWC’s general foreman development program or a leadership-type course to enhance their skill set and advance their career. 

When McCarthy hires a person who is brand new to the field of construction, the company will put them through a two-day program where they earn an OSHA 10 certification to recognize potential hazards on a job site. They also learn basic tool skills, how to read blueprints, construction math and work plan implementation. 

“After a 90-day span, we meet with that individual’s superintendent, assess [the new hire’s] skill level, and place them into the appropriate curriculum,” he continues. “That could be an apprenticeship program for plumbing or whatever specific trade.” 

The ICWC also partners with local career and technical education programs, such as the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) and local community colleges. 

“We’ve hosted EVIT students and walked them through everything from the design integration process to a hands-on prefabrication work session,” Fields says. “We built an inwall plumbing rough-in for a sink, as well learning how shop drawings are developed and how we work with the engineering and architectural partners.”

Exposing students to the trades is something close to Fields’s heart since he went through a vocational program himself in high school. During his junior and senior years, his class built an entire two-story house. 

“Getting to be a part of that program exposed me to what a career in construction could look like, and I enjoyed going there every morning and working with the teachers,” he recalls. “We did absolutely everything to that house, and it was rewarding to look back and see what I had accomplished over those two years. That fueled my fire to go to school and get my construction management degree. I never would’ve thought I would be where I am today when I was a junior in high school.” 


The G. Michael Hoover KAPBCS Training Center is the home of Sundt’s workforce development programs and was built from the ground up by its employees. Sean Ray, vice president of craft workforce development, says that Sundt hired more than 1,400 craft workers in 2022 and that the center conducts nine orientations a week in both English and Spanish.

The complex also houses the company’s Center for Craft Excellence (C4CE) where two of Sundt’s Department of Labor approved apprenticeships take place: pipefitting and industrial carpentry. The craft trainings also utilize curriculum approved by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). 

“NCCER is a credentialing model we use throughout all of our training programs,” Ray says. “We use it because it’s an amazing product, and it’s already set up like an apprenticeship. You need to have 600 hours of classroom time and about 3,000 hours on the job, and NCCER is already organized like that.” 

Sundt also has a heavy equipment operator apprenticeship in partnership with Central Arizona College. The college has 55 acres of land and a fleet of heavy equipment for employees to train on. 

“They allow us to use it because we’re paying tuition for every Sundt employee,” Ray explains. “If you’re in that program, you’re getting college credit, NCCER credentials and a certificate from the Department of Labor saying you completed an apprenticeship. Plus, you’re only six classes away from an associate degree.”


Located in Tempe, the 20,000-square-foot DP University building is home to DP Electric’s apprenticeship program where employees who’ve worked for the company at least 90 days can enroll in training free of charge. Today, more than 160 students are working towards earning their journeyman certificates and NCCER credentials.

“A big component of the facility is the hands-on lab,” explains Danielle Puente, president of DP Electric. “It looks like a job site, so students are able to rough in walls, put in fixtures, work on panels and disconnect switches all within our building.”

Being able to provide this training is especially important as the Arizona market booms, Puente continues. 

“There’s no doubt a shortage of electricians,” she says. “If we had double the workforce, we could book double the work.” 

Finding experienced journeyman is difficult, so the company has been focusing on hiring folks brand new to the industry and putting them through DP University’s apprenticeship program. That said, there are also opportunities for mid-career employees to grow their skillset. 

“Even after you graduate from the apprenticeship program, we invest a lot into continuing education because learning doesn’t end after an apprenticeship,” Puente notes. “Some of those classes include leadership and safety training, code-specific classes and pipe bending. This quarter alone, we’ve had these classes for about 200 electricians.” 

DP Electric also has a partnership with Marcos De Niza High School where students who are interested in becoming an electrician can be a part of a six-week program to get hands-on experience in the project lab and hear from employees about a career in the industry. 

“It’s a cool relationship because my father Dan, the founder of the company, went to Maros De Niza,” Puente concludes. “It brings it full circle as part of our history.”