Beaver Excavating is doing everything it can to make learning about construction as easy as possible. From setting up open houses for career tech counselors to partnering with organizations to spread the word about careers in construction to offering an employee referral program, Beaver knows that closing the labor gap is going to require consistent, hard work.
Beaver Excavating, located in Canton, OH, is tackling workforce development issues primarily through relationship building in their local community. In this way, the Beaver team is hoping to shine some light on who the real faces of construction are—and who they could be in the future.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people outside of construction to make connections within the industry so they can better understand what construction is all about,” said Betsy Sterling, Vice President at Beaver Excavating. “Without relationships with people inside of the construction world, it’s difficult for career counselors, teachers, and parents to get a good, honest understanding of how to help students or prospective employees find their way into construction.”
There are multiple different paths that a student or job seeker can take to begin a career in construction, but they aren’t always obvious if that person isn’t familiar with construction. Beaver Excavating is offering the education about construction and access to connections in the industry in nearly all of its workforce development efforts.
This year, Beaver participated and/or hosted a wide array of activities designed for different groups, people of different ages, and multiple spheres of influence—like educators, parents, etc. For instance, Beaver partnered with United Way of Greater Stark County for their “Girl Up” program, which is designed to help young women in 7th and 8th grades understand that they have a lot of options outside of traditional “9-5” careers.
“Through ‘Girl Up,’ we took the time to educate these young women about what a career in construction could mean for them,” Sterling said. “There is huge opportunity available to them, and we want them to know how to get started down this path.”
Beaver also participates in local career fairs, Constructor for a Day programs, and visits elementary, middle, and high schools to offer presentations about construction and the jobs available within the industry. During those interactions, Betsy and her team noticed that while the students were engaged and interested, it often fell on the shoulders of career counselors, educators, and parents to help them take the students’ interest to the next level. As a result, Beaver Excavating recently opened its first Open House for career tech counselors and teachers. During the event at Beaver, attendees got to see the facility and meet some of the staff or the individuals who would be able to answer questions for them and start building the relationships they know are critical to long-term success. Based on the success of the first Open House, Beaver is hoping to hold them at regular intervals and invite other members of the construction industry, like union representatives, to participate.
“This is not just about Beaver,” said Samantha Rodgers, Talent and Development manager at Beaver Excavating. “There are so many sub-contractors that we rely on to help us get our projects done, and we can’t use them because they don’t have the team they need to complete the work. We know that the shortage of labor is an industry-wide issue that impacts all of us, and we want to do our part to strengthen the industry in any way we can.”
Beaver encourages anyone who is interested in a career in construction to explore multiple paths into the industry. Additionally, they’re focused on retaining the great staff and contractors they already have relationships with.
“We want to keep our people and partners engaged with us,” Sterling said. “We want them to explore the different ways to grow and change within our company or within construction.”
One internal effort Beaver has initiated is developing very clear career paths so their employees better understand how they can try new things and new jobs without leaving Beaver or the industry in general.
“We’re making it exceptionally easy to understand how a person can move from one level to the next and develop a set of criteria that makes it simple to know how close or how far you are from the next milestone,” Sterling said. “We don’t have a decade for people to test out the system and decide if this is the right direction. Rather, we want to provide clear guidance so they can get to their goals faster and find what makes them happy.”
Added together, its workforce development efforts are helping to promote Beaver Excavating as an approachable company and a realistic voice for the industry. They are working hard to change the perception of what construction used to be and better align students, parents, teachers, and job seekers with the reality of what construction is today—and what it could mean for their future.
To learn more about Beaver Excavating Company, you can visit their website at www.beaverexcavating.com.