- The Association for Construction Career Development (ACCD) in Phoenix, which was created to support annual workforce events designed to attract more people to the field of construction work, held two Arizona Construction Career Day events in the state this month that brought out more than 5,000 high school students to explore various aspects of the industry as they consider their future career pathways, Engineering News Record Southwest reports.
- Such events are designed to inform students about these careers, enhance their attractiveness to future graduates, help them understand the life skills they will learn, and let them know about the more high-tech aspects of construction as well as the need for new, specific skills to increase efficiency and safety.
- As the economy improves, construction jobs are in higher demand: recent government data shows that national construction employment increased by 30,000 in October and by 330,000 over the past year.
In a competitive job market, employers are having to work harder to attract a workforce, especially in a world where the job options are changing and growing. Students tend to form perceptions of certain jobs from television or from hearing people discuss these jobs. They may not realize all the benefits these jobs bring or the new skills that are needed to accomplish them.
Career fairs that offer hands-on experience and direct contact with people working in different aspects of a particular field are more useful to students than traditional career fairs where brochures are handed out at booths representing a wide range of general careers. Careers are becoming increasing specialized, so a student may think of construction in terms of hammering nails, for instance, instead of realizing the many and varied aspects of construction that may align more with their interests.
Some high schools in states such as Oregon and Michigan are now capitalizing on the need for more construction workers by creating programs to teach these skills while students earn a high school diploma. The specific nature of these programs also makes it easier for industry leaders to connect with these students as potential employees. Savvy employers see the value in connecting with students while they are still considering future pathways, and schools benefit by partnering with employers for hands-on training and expert advice. Not all students will go to college but helping them gain valuable skills while still in high school can set them up for success in a solid career.