As the month of September and the end of summer draws near, students across the country are preparing for a new school year. Caring educators and supportive parents are standing by, ready to guide them. But, are we adults supporting students with dreams of joining the construction industry in the best way possible? Without intentional action, we believe the answer is, regretfully, no.
Our society is set up to move our youth from one grade level to the next, preparing for undergraduate studies and an eventual career. And when careers don’t fall into that specific trajectory, students miss out on following their passions and fulfilling their fullest potential. Not only that, industries like the construction industry are left with an undertrained, understaffed workforce. This is the driving force behind the I Build America mission.
If you’re reading this, it’s clear that our mission is your mission. But really, it’s everyone’s. After all, a lacking construction workforce impacts everyone. So how can each of us support students this year?
You know your kids better than anyone else, which means you know what they’re capable of. If you see in them the desire to create, work with their hands and/or make a difference in your community, talk to them about a career in construction.
Some parents are wary of encouraging this career path. It’s seen as less common and more risky. But trust us, you’ll want to inspire them to choose a career in construction. What parent wouldn’t want their child to:
- Graduate high school and begin a high paying job right away.
- Start a career without student debt.
- Have opportunities for future growth.
If you have any questions about the industry and the options for your child, explore our parent resource page here.
You have a front row seat to students’ skills. You see them day in and day out, so you know their potential. We ask you to be on the lookout for student strengths beyond just the typical traits that will take them down a traditional nine-to-five career path. When you see hands-on learners, inquisitive problem solvers, or students who struggle in a traditional classroom setting but thrive in group projects, please encourage them to further their education at a career technical center or through an apprenticeship program.
Just remember, you don’t have to do this on your own. This is truly a team effort for the entire education system.
- Encourage your coworkers to join you in guiding students to careers in construction. Talk with other teachers to identify students that would thrive in the industry. Even more importantly, take the time to persuade school guidance counselors and academic advisors to push students to explore more than just a four-year degree path following graduation.
- Check out the resources we have curated specifically for educators on our website. Click here.
No matter how you are connected with a student who has an interest in the construction industry, reiterate to them that they can follow their passions.There’s no reason to hold back in today’s job market — give them the confidence to trust their skill set and vision. Otherwise, they’ll end up on a path that is unfulfilling and inevitably unsuccessful. For more support, encourage students to explore our resources page here.