If it’s October, then it’s time to celebrate Careers in Construction Month! What started as a week of recognition in 2003 has expanded into a full month to recognize construction industry jobs and career paths. Spearheaded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and officially recognized in 40 states, the goal is to inspire the next generation of construction professionals and positively impact their perception of a career in construction.
State of the construction industry
The construction industry is an actively growing, competitive industry with more than 650,000 employers and over 6 million employees (credit). Of these employers, 79 percent of construction firms planned to hire in 2019 according to Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Plus, roughly the same percentage were concerned about where they would find qualified applicants for the 440,000 construction jobs that needed to be filled creating a unique opportunity for schools of all levels to develop training programs to prepare students for careers in construction.
Schools are stepping up to fill the gap
Organizations like Associated General Contractors of America have gotten the word out to schools around the nation about the urgent need for construction personnel. The schools have reacted by creating programs for construction careers that require college education for positions such as engineers, architects, and project managers, as well as careers that do not require further education such as trade jobs and laborers. Both career avenues can lead to competitive salaries, benefits, and lifelong fulfilling career paths with ample opportunities.
Students who enroll in these secondary education programs often have the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test in construction association programs, such as Associated Builders and Contractors’ Construction Management Competition. Sponsored by ABC members, this competition gives students the opportunity to test their project management, estimating, safety and quality control skills in a team-based competition as well as provides them a platform to dialogue with students around the country and the ability to network with potential employers. ABC also offers construction training opportunities through their Apprenticeship program, where students get on-the-job education and training for hands-on construction careers.
Students even have the option to begin construction training with pay while still in high school. Carpentry programs like the one offered at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (CPAVTS) train students with co-op opportunities for real-life work experience before graduating high school. When Jody Snider, Carpentry Instructor, began his position at CPAVTS 26 years ago, there were about 50 students in the program. Today, the program consistently takes 100 students every year.
“Before, we may have had a small percentage of students go to work in the industry after graduating,” said Snider, “Now nearly everyone gets a construction job with a good wage. Once you see these kids having success and get them out doing better than you did at their age, the sky is the limit.”
According to Snider, it is not uncommon for students to be hired full-time by an employer in the Fall prior to graduating the following June.
Choosing a construction career
Interested in a construction career, but not sure where to start? Consider taking a construction career quiz for suggested career avenues in the industry or browse the wide variety of job types to see what might suit you.
Mowery understands it’s important to know you have opportunities for advancement and skill development throughout your career. That’s why we’ve worked hard to develop internal career paths for our employees and offer tuition assistance opportunities. We encourage our team members to attend conferences, workshops, and other educational opportunities to stay current with industry trends and continue growing in industry knowledge. These developmental opportunities are all part of our Foundation of building positive, long-term relationships with our colleagues that are built on trust, respect and collaboration.
Ready to start a career in construction? Visit our Careers page – we’re hiring!