In the last few months, high school students in Texas and Louisiana have spoken with construction industry professionals, employers and associations to learn about the options available with a career in construction. All of these events took place with the help of NCCER’s Build Your Future (BYF) initiative. By working with BYF to offer local events like these, the construction industry can collaborate to change the perception of choosing a career in construction, boost overall recruitment and narrow the skills gap we face in the upcoming years.
In Texas, the Construction Education Foundation of North Texas (CEF), the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) TEXO Chapter, North Lake College (NLC) and BYF held the fourth annual Construction Career Day event welcoming more than 1200 select juniors and seniors representing 35 North Texas high schools to watch equipment and welding demonstrations, speak with local employers in the construction industry and visit booths representing various professions in construction.
The keynote speaker at the event was NASCAR Nationwide Series driver David Starr. In addition to leading the #44 NCCER/Build Your Future race team, Starr is a proud graduate of career and technical education (CTE). He shared is personal story with the students, urging them to see the world of opportunities that career and technical education can provide. “I’m proud to say that I wouldn’t be here today, if it were not for my high school CTE program,” said Starr.
In addition, the ABC Pelican Chapter held a BYF event at their training center in Baton Rouge, La., with more than 800 students attending over the course of three days to learn about different industrial crafts.
ABC Pelican’s Director of Education and Training, Clouatre and the Director of Workforce Development, Matt Campbell addressed the students each day of the event and also brought in guest speakers Tim Johnson of TJC Consulting and NCCER, Gil Matherne of GM Cable and Roland Toups of Turner Industries. The guest speakers told their personal stories of failures and success throughout the course of their careers and how choosing a career in construction was the best choice for them. The students also watch videos highlighting the rewarding work that craft professionals complete.
The students were then divided into groups that rotated to different stations to hear from experienced craft professionals representing electrical & instrumentation, millwright, pipefitting, welding, heavy equipment operation and carpentry.
These events are great examples of how the industry can collaborate to promote careers in construction. With the help of the BYF initiative and the partnership planning tools available, other regions of the country can create successful events like the ones implemented in Texas and Louisiana.
For more information, visit byf.org.