One thing that I know really frustrates construction industry executives is, all too often, educators don’t emphasize the skilled trades as a legitimate career path. The owner of a masonry company in the Houston area told me he recently featured his business at a high school career day, and he was very disappointed to see parents making sure their kids would steer clear of his booth. This executive shook his head and asked “How am I supposed to find workers when that's the attitude?”
With that as the backdrop, it’s encouraging to see there are some high schools where construction is still being championed as a real opportunity for kids to have a career of integrity.
In Bloomington, Indiana, Bloomington High School actually offers “Construction Technology” class as a way to introduce kids to the skilled trades and give them some hands-on experience. One of the students, Jayms Chandler, told Bloomington-based The Herald-Times that “It's a lot more interesting. You get to impress people with the work you do, you get to meet new people. It's really an awesome class.”
Not only do the kids get to learn a trade, but they’re also doing some good in their community, the newspaper reports:
“Currently, the class is working on a roofing project for retired Hoosier Hills teacher and Bloomington High School North Athletic Director Ralph Sieboldt. Other projects conducted by the class include building detached garages, room additions, porches, carports, a pool house and siding and roofing projects.”
It sounds like the kids not only have fun, but they also do a surprisingly good job. Teacher Chris Carnegie said “I would challenge anybody to come out here and look at this and say that this was done by high school students.”