No arguing that it’s tough to be looking for a job right now. If you are unemployed and 16 to 24 years of age, you are one of 18.6 million of your peers looking for work in your age demographic according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That translates to an unemployment rate of 48.9% in this demographic sector of the population.
So what does the construction industry offer for you? Well, like many other industries, our workforce is aging and over the next few years we will be losing many experienced and skilled craft professionals. The prospects for young adults to work their way into leadership positions in our industry have never been better.
If you are new to the construction industry, there are many great websites where you can find information on career paths and training opportunities. One site is the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Look at the links on the Construction Citizen website for more. It is important that you be aware that although the great thing about our industry is that you can succeed without having a college degree; it does not mean that you will not be expected to bring some skills to the interview process.
Companies engaged in strategic recruiting during the downturn are focused on hiring folks who will provide real value to the future workforce. Many companies continue to find places for those looking to break into the construction industry and learn a trade, but they can’t afford to hire everyone.
I asked the training coordinator for our construction trades program to tell me what he looks for in a new candidate for our program. He said that he will hire someone with no construction experience if he finds someone who has a high school diploma or GED, is able to provide his or her own transportation to the jobsite, will commit to showing up on time every day, and fully engage in the training offered. Additionally, he says, the candidate who comes with the ability to communicate in English, have a face to face conversation and who has some good basic math skills is a great find.
There are many great programs around the country that offer not only training for new entrants, but also will offer specific re-training opportunities for those who find themselves displaced during the economic downturn. I recommend any young person looking to get into to our industry spend some time on the sites listed here to find out how to access free or fee-reduced training opportunities around the country.