A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

We hear that question a lot on the Internet these days, but my question refers to the picture of a class of students who attend the Career Pathways Institute in Grand Island, Nebraska finishing concrete for a townhouse project for Ryan Bartels Construction Company.

The story chronicles the way that one of those students, Caleb Wardyn, a senior at Central Catholic high school found a part-time job with Bartels. It also talks about how Bartels, a staunch supporter of the CPI construction pathway, brought Caleb and 11 other students who are in the construction pathway at CPI to work on a project where they get “hands-on” experience while they are still in school.

Great story. Everything looks great for the kids, but when I looked at the picture of them screeding off the wet concrete for the basement floor of the unit, I realized something. None of the kids were wearing hard hats, and I bet that they aren’t wearing steel-toed boots to protect their feet from an injury that would haunt them the rest of their lives.

Kudos to Ryan Bartels and CPI for giving these kids a “hands-on” experience on a real construction site. They will learn skills that will help them on their senior project and later as they enter their careers, but they seem to be missing one of the most important lessons on this learning journey – safety. I know that CPI teaches safety in their Industrial pathway, and they offer OSHA 10 hour safety in the construction pathway. Seems that they need to teach the kids to take that learning to the jobsite.

Ryan Bartels and his company should teach these kids to be safe and that means wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) on any and every jobsite they visit or work on to avoid an accident that might take them out of the construction game for the rest of their lives.