The construction industry offers careers that are meaningful, fulfilling, hands-on and high-paying. These careers also align with some of the biggest needs and demands of the national economy.
Despite their value and importance, these career pathways are often overlooked in schools or don’t get the attention that many other professions get. A lack of awareness or misperceptions of careers in construction can result in students missing out on great opportunities to earn, to have a career they would truly enjoy and to be part of an industry that could sustain them for the rest of their lives.
Here are some ways to create awareness about opportunities in the skilled trades and to encourage careers in construction at your school.
Provide Construction Skills Education
One of the best ways to encourage construction as a career path is to teach the skills that make it possible.
Offering construction education at your school is an important step in setting the foundation for a student’s future in skilled crafts. Teaching the basics such as safety and how to use tools provides a foundation across all trades. Allowing students to experience different trades will help them discover which pathway may be the best fit for them.
Construction-focused career and technical education (CTE) courses are engaging and teach learners relevant and important skills for both life and careers, regardless of the career they ultimately pursue. In fact, studies show that students who take CTE classes are more likely to graduate high school, pursue postsecondary education and learn key employability skills such as critical thinking, time management and teamwork.
Promote Career Exploration
Career exploration can help students see that construction is a viable career path that can offer strong pay and a fulfilling lifestyle.
To showcase careers in construction, schools can use online resources such as construction career overview pages that give job descriptions, average salaries and required skills and education for different trades. These resources share insightful information for each profession, highlighting the true variety of different fields and specializations within construction. Students may be surprised by how many options they can pursue.
Another great way for students to learn about careers in construction is to listen to real craft professionals. Working with local construction companies and inviting guest speakers to talk to students about what they do and how they got started in their careers can provide an authentic testimonial of the opportunities in the construction industry.
Help Students Apply for Construction Jobs and Training Programs
If a student is interested in pursuing a career in construction, schools can support them by helping to connect them with employment or training opportunities.
After graduating high school, some students want to directly join the workforce. Others may choose to look for postsecondary training options, such as community colleges or apprenticeship programs. Regardless of which route they choose, you can help them reach the next part of their journey.
CareerStarter is a free tool that your students can use to find opportunities in construction that are the right fit for them. In addition to providing a great resource to search for construction-related job openings, CareerStarter offers resume-building services, career coaching and guidance, and more tools your school can use for in-class activities. By getting your students engaged with CareerStarter, you’re helping them take an important first step to starting their career in construction.
Celebrate Construction as a First-Choice Career Path
Schools often celebrate students’ postsecondary paths. For example, many schools celebrate “college day” allowing seniors to wear clothes from the university they will be attending. Other careers may have a special themed day, week or month in which they are promoted.
Celebrating skilled trade paths is a great way to highlight construction as a first-choice career option.
Many schools choose to align this with Careers in Construction Month, which happens annually in October. Your school can participate in career fairs, guest speakers, field trips to a construction site or training facility, and informational sessions for parents. You can also check out the Careers in Construction Month website to learn about other great initiatives.
A career in construction is a path that can provide great rewards and offers the stability of a growing, in-demand industry. Whether you’re interested in adding a construction course at your school or simply helping students see the opportunities available, you can open entirely new possibilities for students in their careers!