In August 2019, the AGC reported: “eighty percent of construction firms are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce.”

As labor shortages continue, S. M. Wilson set out to create a program to address the need for more well-trained, qualified workers. For decades, we have proudly built education facilities and our work has had a tremendous impact on the community. Project teams have presented to classes, hosted project tours and organized activities to engage student interest in the construction industry. In addition to supporting individual student interest, we strive to support the serious needs of our industry to promote career paths in the trades and provide access to those careers.

This year, S. M. Wilson has formalized these efforts and rolled them into our existing career development initiatives to form SKILLED, with the mission to Inspire the Future of Construction. 

“A decline in qualified craft workers sparked S. M. Wilson to create a program that would impact our industry in a positive way. SKILLED brings construction into the classroom and beyond by providing the foundational knowledge and skills for a successful career in the A/E/C industry,” says S. M. Wilson President, Amy Berg.

The three-pronged program supports individuals from all experience levels, from pre-k students to workforce professionals, to Discover, Develop and Elevate their skills in the construction industry.

The Discover portion of the program is already underway at S. M. Wilson’s Hallsville Primary School addition and renovation project in Hallsville, MO. The project team introduced students from the high school’s Ag Construction class to real-world applications of a construction project through site tours and trailer talks. The latest installment of the program allowed students to suit up in PPE and view the current state of their Primary School which included crane operations and steel erection of the prefabricated building structure.

“Students enjoyed touring the jobsite and seeing a variety of different trade skills taking place. We are excited to continue this program with S. M. Wilson throughout the school year. Thanks to S. M. Wilson for this educational opportunity, it is really appreciated,” said Caleb Martin, Teacher and Advisor at Hallsville R-IV Schools.

Seeing the physical job completed in real-time with the guidance of the S. M. Wilson project team will give students the unparalleled introduction to what their future in construction might entail. Future plans with the District include construction career presentations and STEAM construction activities for middle and primary school students are underway.

Amy Berg explains, “We are excited to kick off SKILLED with the Hallsville R-IV School District and look forward to continuing our efforts to provide students with the framework and a strong foundation for a future career in construction.”

The Develop and Elevate portions of the program focus on high school, secondary students and beyond. As part the Develop phase, S. M. Wilson offers career-ready internships, career training and mentorship. Led by the company’s Collegiate Development Committee, students interested in working in the construction industry experience hands-on training opportunities, mentoring and networking to benefit their personal and professional development.

The Elevate phase supports the internal professional growth of employees through continued job training, team building, development programs, leadership and advancement opportunities. Knowing that our employees are our greatest asset, S. M. Wilson strives to provide a strong foundation and resourceful company culture by emphasizing growth and encouraging professional development. A few benefits offered include tuition reimbursement, a leadership program, career paths rotation program and Wilson Women.

To learn more about SKILLED, visit