Recovery is all around us. The construction industry is revving up again, driven by a hefty backlog of work and a fresh dose of infrastructure revitalization. And just as many had predicted, we are now facing an extraordinary lack of skilled craft professionals who are ready to build, repair and maintain.
The cycle of recruitment for any industry hinges on informing young students about the possibilities for a particular career and the steps they need to take in order to accomplish their goals. Yet the construction industry is hindered by preconceived ideas and misconceptions about the education, training, and advancement opportunities associated with a successful career.
Some of these misconceptions start early on, perpetuated by well-meaning parents, teachers and guidance counselors:
“Oh, you can take a carpentry class in high school, but you can't make a living as a carpenter.”
“Welding is a good back-up plan in case you don’t get into college.”
“You should take a drafting class. It’s good to have a trade to fall back on.”
Simple phrases like these steer students away from imagining full and prosperous careers as craft professionals.
But it is not these influencers alone who are to blame for the inaccurate picture of construction careers today’s students are given. As representatives of our industry, we have a responsibility to present a clear and concise path for students to follow as they start their journey. The diverse opportunities related to construction, while exciting to some, can also appear overwhelming to both students and their parents.
At Build Your Future, we have taken the first step by creating a simple, interactive career path to help guide students considering a career in the construction industry. This path accompanies our other resources; such as craft pro trading cards, wage information and a connection to training, credentials and jobs. But we know, as a grassroots organization, we need the support of industry associations, contractors, and technical instructors to help us get a direct message to the right audience. February is national Career and Technical Education month, so this is the perfect opportunity to connect with a local school, exhibit at a career fair, or host a job-site visit. Whether you are influencing one student or an entire region, it is time to take the next step.