By now the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the North American economy is familiar to all – or at least the short-term impact. The mindset has often been one characterized as treading water, awaiting either the return of business as usual or a “new normal,” depending on the individual outlook. But the pandemic is also threatening the long-term economic outlook in ways to which the casual observer may well be oblivious.
Economic growth depends on the strength of construction and manufacturing sectors, and this in turn depends on sustaining the pipeline of new, highly skilled tradespeople entering the workforce. Yet the pandemic has created all manner of challenges for those educating the next wave.
The mission of The AED Foundation is to enhance the success of the more than 800 member companies of Associated Equipment Distributors – construction equipment distributors, manufacturers, and industry service firms across North America We do this by encouraging continuous learning, by providing educational opportunities for today’s employees, and by improving the availability and quality of equipment industry employees in the future. In order to support this mission, we wanted to develop a better understanding of the current, COVID dominated situation and how its future direction can be steered toward the best possible outcome.
By offering insights into the post-COVID attitudes and decisions of educators working in the heavy equipment and diesel technology field, this report is intended to help our members understand the why behind those educators’ actions and enable them to become a more effective resource for those on the training side of the industry. In support of that objective, we conducted a survey of 77 such educators. The survey was conducted prior to the start of the current school year, with many questions asking them to anticipate facets of that school year.