Workforce Development Asphalt Careers
Our industry is constantly working to recruit and develop the next generation of Asphalt Industry workers. Companies look to employ hard-working, dedicated individuals across a variety of skill sets. See below to learn more about various jobs within the Asphalt Industry.
Laborers are diversely skilled workers who build and repair roads. From small one day jobs to massive multi-year construction projects, laborers are involved in nearly every construction project. They are typically employed on-site from the day a project begins until the day it is completed. Laborers may work jointly with other crafts or independently on projects.
Aptitude and Interest
Laborers should enjoy working outside performing work which is physical in nature, but also requires specialized skills. Laborers should master basic reading and math skills to read and interpret construction plans and to operate today’s increasingly high-tech input devices like GPS, various equipment pieces, etc.
To become a skilled productive laborer training is important. It can be acquired informally through “learning-by-working;” through vocational/technical schools; through unilaterally (management or labor) sponsored trainee programs; through registered, labor-management apprenticeship programs, or a combination of the above. It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include English and basic math.
Kentucky Wage Averages
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [May 2018]
Operating Engineers or Equipment Operators operate and maintain a variety of powerful equipment ranging from bulldozers, backhoes, and earthmovers to very large power shovels and cranes. They also lubricate, maintain, and perform minor repair and adjustment to the machinery.
Aptitude and Interest
Operators much have good eyesight and better than average coordination in order to operate both hand and foot levers simultaneously. They must have good judgement in order to perform complicated tasks, and must be able to work closely with other crafts without constant supervision. Skilled operators are constantly alert and observant of their surroundings.
To become a skilled equipment operator training is essential. It can be acquired informally through “learning-by-working;” through company on-the-job training programs; by attending trade or vocational/technical schools; through unilaterally (management or labor) sponsored trainee programs; through registered labor-management apprenticeship programs; or a combination of the above. It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include English, algebra, geometry, general sciences, and mechanical drawing.
Kentucky Wage Averages
Truck operators drive trucks such as water, trailer, or dump trucks with a capacity of more than three tons transporting materials to specified destinations on construction sites. They operate equipment on the vehicle to load, secure, and unload/disperse cargo/materials, or they may assist in loading, securing, and unloading the truck manually. They maintain radio or telephone contact with base or a supervisor to receive instructions or be dispatched to new location. They keep records of materials and products transported. They may also be responsible for cleaning, inspecting, and servicing the vehicle.
Length of Apprenticeship
A minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training combined with a minimum of 144 hours of classroom training each year the apprentice is in the program.
Apprenticeship applications must be at least 21 years of age at the date of application and must provide proof of current commercial driver´s license medical certification and possess a valid driver´s license for the state of residency.
Kentucky Wage Averages
An Asphalt Lab Technician is responsible for ensuring that the highest quality product is provided on all projects and jobs, while meeting contracted quality standards that are controlled by the lab.
Lab Technicians must be able to effectively measure quality, record data, identify variances, and establish corrective actions. The Lab Technician will utilize best practices in gradation testing and sampling, processing, stockpiling, and re-handling to ensure product remains within target specifications as it is received by our customers.
- Certifications in KYTC Div. of Materials of Aggregate and HMA
- Proven knowledge of aggregate and asphalt materials
- Proven mathematical and statistical skills
- Proven computer, reading, and writing skills
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds on a regular basis
- SAFETY COORDINATOR
The safety coordinator’s primary responsibility is to keep the loss of human and property resources to a minimum. The safety director is an individual capable of managing jobsite safety by providing safety training for employees, inspecting jobsites, correcting safety hazards found during regular inspections, managing workers’ compensation insurance processes, and ensuring that the company is in compliance with required Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety and health standards.
Education and Training
A college education is not essential although pertinent safety training courses are desirable. A good safety coordinator understands OSHA regulations and how they work in construction. He or she also has basic knowledge of construction operations, materials, and methods. Most safety directors have previous construction experience and a keen interest in construction safety.
Safety directors are often capable money makers and capable of working with individuals at all levels of the corporate ladder. The high cost of health care and expenses related to jobsite injuries, as well as the high cost of replacing and/or repairing a company’s resources including its property, equipment, and tools is prompting many construction companies to hire safety directors. Safety directors often advance to higher level management positions either in their company or in others.
A foreman supervises and coordinates the work of a crew of workers in a specific craft or trade. Foremen are primarily concerned with seeing that the workers under them do their job skillfully and efficiently, and that assigned work progresses on schedule. They deal with the routing of material and equipment, and with the laying out of the more difficult areas of the job. The work requires quick, clear thinking and quick onsite decisions. Foremen should have a broad working knowledge of a craft; must be able to read and visualize objects from blueprints; and should have an eye for precise detail.
Working conditions for foremen can vary greatly depending upon the craft line being supervised. However, the great majority of work will be onsite and out-of-doors, often resulting in prolonged standing, as well as some strenuous physical activity.
Education and Training
To become a foreman, a craftsman must illustrate an above average knowledge of all facets of a particular trade and do noticeably good work consistently. A foreman should have the same basic aptitude and interests as those working in the craft being supervised, plus additional reading, writing, and math skills. The ability to motivate workers and communicate with them and superiors is essential. A foreman must often lead by example.
Being an entry level/first line management position, a foreman who exhibits solid rapport and communicates with his or her workers and superiors, who leads by example, who has outstanding skills and trade knowledge, who gets the job done properly and on schedule, and who works to improve his/her management skills will often be in line for promotion into a supervisory position. With the proper background and initiative a foreman may progress to a superintendent, general superintendent, vice president, or even an owner of a construction company.
Nature of Work
Generally speaking, a job superintendent or project superintendent is the contractor’s representative at a construction site. The superintendent directs and coordinates the activities of the various trade groups such as carpenters, equipment operators, iron workers, etc., on site. Responsibilities include making sure that the work progresses according to schedule, that material and equipment are delivered to the site on time, and that the activities of the various workers do not interfere with one another. The superintendent supervises all these activities by talking with and directing the foremen for the different trades or craft workers. Some of these foremen and their workers may be employed by the superintendent’s own construction company, while others may be employed by other companies working on the job.As stated, the responsibilities of a job and/or project superintendent are often the same. Yet, in some instances either one (especially the project superintendent) may be over the superintendent(s) in charge of a specific jobsite’s activities, e.g. grading. In the same sense, a general superintendent (often found on larger jobs and/or with large firms) may have duties similar to the project superintendent mentioned above, but with an even broader range of responsibilities. A general superintendent might direct the work on a number of construction sites with those superintendents reporting to him. A project manager is another construction occupation title for a position which again may overlap and, on occasion, be used interchangeably with general, project, or job superintendent. A review of the definition for project manager might be helpful.
Education and Training
Most superintendents have many years of experience in one of more of the construction trades. Generally, contractors have selected their superintendents from among the foremen who demonstrate leadership and a working knowledge of their craft. While a college education is not necessarily required, it is helpful. A superintendent must have a good understanding of construction methods, scheduling, and blueprint reading, as well as a basic knowledge of communication skills. Demonstrated leadership ability is essential.
Depending upon the size of the firm (and the job titles used by that firm), job or project superintendents may become general superintendents. Superintendents often become principal officers of their construction firm, and on occasion start their own company.
Engineers in construction are involved in planning, design, construction, operation, and management of engineering and engineering-construction projects. They are problem solvers, and must be concerned with both the detail and general applications and problems of their work in relation to the overall construction project. Engineers in construction may specialize in several engineering fields such as architectural, civil (including structural engineering), electrical, mechanical, and environmental engineering.
Civil engineers work with structures. They design and monitor the construction of roads, airports, tunnels, bridges, dams, harbors, irrigation systems, water treatment and distribution facilities, and sewage collection and treatment systems. Civil engineers are technical problem solvers. They incorporate the principles of science and mathematics into the cost-effective design of permanent and temporary structures. The development of detailed plans and specifications is a major aspect of their work. Civil engineering is the oldest and broadest of the engineering professions. “Civils” can concentrate their work in technical specialties such as structural engineering and transportation engineering.
Mechanical engineers are concerned with the production, transmission, and use of mechanical power and heat. They study the behavior of materials when forces are applied to them—such as the motion of solids, liquids, and gasses—and the heating and cooling of objects and machines. Mechanical engineers design and develop manufacturing equipment and technologies, and supervise installation of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, materials handling systems, automatic control systems, noise control and acoustics, machine tools, internal combustion engines, solar energy systems, and rail transportation equipment.
Education and Training
Construction-oriented positions in modern engineering range from those requiring a baccalaureate degree to those requiring a master’s degree. University entrance requirements are generally those which a high school college preparatory program provides. Interested individuals should contact the admissions office at their selected college for specific details. Seek a school accredited for the specific type of engineering program desired. Good SAT or ACT scores are important, as well as good grades in junior high school and senior high school. Students with an aptitude for engineering are probably earning above average grades in mathematics and science. Above all, they should enjoy these subjects, and like to study and to achieve. Engineering students should have common sense, patience, and a strong sense of curiosity.
There is a place for engineers of many kinds of interests and abilities within the construction industry. Many engineering graduates begin as assistants to supervisors, office managers, or company executives. All have the potential to move into top management positions. Many construction firm owners began their careers as design engineers.
Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky
PO Box 286
119 West Broadway, Depot Place
Frankfort, KY 40602