Imagine waking up for work and building something you can look back fondly on and be proud of. This feeling can be attributed to many things: being in a lab, a classroom, an office or even on a construction site.
It is often drilled into young people that their only option is formal education. While this is an excellent path to take, viewing it as the only option may keep young people from excelling. Education is vital to shaping young people into what they become. However, instead of a classroom, some people may be more suited for a hands-on approach.
One solution for this issue has been young people going into a construction career. Career opportunities ranging from carpenter, ironworker or project manager are available and provide young people with opportunities they may not have considered.
Mira Carrozza, a USF junior majoring in biomedical sciences, says, “I’m happy in my major, but I know so many people that aren’t. So many of my friends have changed their majors at least three times.”
The National Center for Construction, Education and Research, a construction training company, launched a campaign focused on recruiting youth into the industry called the “Build Your Future” initiative. NCCER’s initiative has events and competitions nationwide to educate young people about the opportunities for education and growth in the industry.
Jennifer Wilkerson, Director of Marketing at NCCER, says, “We have seen so much growth in the construction industry, and we expect to continue to see the same trend, but the key to this happening is recruiting young people into the industry.”
The biggest issue the industry faces are stereotypes about lack of opportunities for growth or jobs suitable for women. Yet, industry officials say, there is a wide selection of career paths and infinite opportunities for growth and promotion.
Wilkerson explained that the Build Your Future initiative focuses on recruiting young people who have ambitions to grow within the industry. She calls these young people craft professionals.
The idea that women do not “belong” in the construction industry is a misconception the industry is working hard to change. The first week of March was declared “Women in Construction Week” by The National Association of Women in Construction.
The goal in presenting opportunities in the construction industry is not to discourage young people from pursuing formal education, but to consider all options.