Construction growth is in the double digits. After the hit the industry took during the 2008 recession, it’s likely that not many were anticipating this kind of growth in the face of a pandemic which decimated other industries, for instance hospitality.

With plenty of jobs available in the booming construction industry, it is important to alert graduating seniors to career and employment opportunities as an alternative to attending college and incurring the debt that goes with it. Counselors and others who guide students about to enter the workforce can serve students more comprehensively by alerting them to potential construction careers. Not only can that provide for the industry to be successful, it serves to expand an already-strained workforce. If it’s not the guidance counselor, there are others who can be influential advocates for construction careers: a coach, teacher or even an involved parent.

As a society, we need to get past the perception issues with construction industry employment. Some still see skilled trades as an inferior choice for a career. However, the other side of that coin, college, results in a delayed entrance into the workforce and is no guarantee of a good paying job even then. Instead of encouraging graduating seniors to go to college, they should be alerted to the employment opportunities in the skilled trades. There are some very successful trade business owners who started small and worked their way up.

The skilled trades sector of construction is a strong career avenue involving many different facets. There are jobs in finance, marketing, administration, management, in addition to hands-on plumbing, electrical and mechanical work. As trades workers gain valuable field experience, those who chart their path correctly can actually end up owning their own business. Entrepreneurship is trending right now. As today’s trade contractors retire, many sell their businesses – including established clientele lists. In those situations, more than half of the effort of acquiring work is already done.

Career counselors have an important part to play in preparing for the future of our workforce. Fortunately, attitudes are changing. Some counselors are starting to understand the career potential in construction as opposed to facing the pain of student loan debt. College may not be the best career path for all graduating seniors. The next generations of the workforce should at least be well versed in the various industries available to them and how they could fit in. The level of opportunity in construction is magnified by the technology innovations that are making use of computers, mobile devices, analytics software, and myriad other tech tools. These are things the new workforce can relate to.

By collaborating with industry leaders, counselors can build the next generation of trades men and women.

Tune in to episode 96 of Bridging the Gap podcast with guest Brandon Patterson. Brandon is instrumental in the “Build My Future” career event and had some suggestions for ways to build our future construction workforce. 

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