A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Planting the Seeds for a Skilled Workforce

You never know where you’re going to find new career opportunities for the nation’s youth.  During a National Night Out event in Houston last week, we found some young boys and girls getting a taste of what it’s like to be a carpenter.

Darryl Samuels, Managing Partner of construction management and commercial development company D. Samuels & Associates, LLC, told Construction Citizen that he’s constantly trying to find ways to get young people interested in the skilled trades.  We've done our best to highlight these kinds of efforts on Construction Citizen.  For his part, Samuels brought nails, hammers and some wood to an event in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood and invited kids to give it a try.  Samuels remarked:

“The point is to introduce them to construction.  A lot of kids just don't know anything about it.  The younger they are, the more interested they are.  What I've found with these kids is they'll bring in their brothers and sisters.  It’s a way of getting the whole family involved.”

Manny, 11, took to it quickly.  If you’ve ever tried to teach a young boy or girl how to hammer a nail, you know what it’s like to see them get it wrong a few times and then see the satisfaction on their face when they get it right.  Manny couldn’t stop smiling.  “Maybe I could build my own house,” he said with a big grin.

In a low-income neighborhood like Kashmere Gardens, far too many children like Manny will end up dropping out of high school and find themselves in a dead-end job with no hope of building a real career.

Avery, 20, who was also at the same event, said he’s seen too many of his friends drop out of school.  He said some of them could have benefited from having the career option of the skilled trades.  “A lot of them dropped out and now they’ve got nowhere to turn,” he said.  “I see carpentry as something that’s always going to be needed.  That should be an option for people.”

Avery said giving young people the opportunity to learn a trade would be a way to rebuild the community in two ways: the buildings and the people.

Avery is going to college, majoring in business administration, but he acknowledges that’s not the right path for everyone.  “The whole point is to be a success in life,” Avery said.

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