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Workforce Development

By Kirstyn Quandt, Guest Contributor, from NCCER blog

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we were taught that it is more desirable to go to college, earn a degree and sit in cubicles for 40 hours a week than it is to build and fix things with our hands. Fortunately for many of us, there are still careers where builders thrive and earn more money than their cubicle counterparts and NCCER’s Build Your Future (BYF) initiative is committed to sharing the many opportunities for successful, lucrative careers in the construction industry with students across the country.

By taking a collaborative, grassroots approach to industry recruitment and image enhancement strategies, BYF is redefining the way the construction industry builds its talent pipeline. While great pay, the ability to travel the world and opportunities for advancement are all highly valued by the next generation of workers, few of them realize that a career as a craft professional meets all of the criteria. As part of the initiative, BYF developed three goals:

    1. Make career and technical education (CTE) a priority in secondary schools.


    1. Shift the public’s negative perception about careers in the construction industry to reflect the wide range of professions available.


    1. Provide a path from ambition, to training, to job placement as a craft professional.

In order to reach and interact with as many students as possible, BYF travels to numerous career days sharing the success stories of current craft professionals and encouraging educators and students to change the way they think about careers in the construction industry. In 2016, BYF attended 14 career days and interacted with 20,000 students, parents and teachers spreading the message about construction’s rewarding career opportunities. Surveys from 3,500 students showed that:

    • 55% viewed construction careers more favorably after the event


    • 85% had an increased interest in learning about careers in construction


    • 44% of students are pursuing a career in construction after attending the event

BYF provides numerous resources to educators, organizations and contractors looking to do their own recruiting. Items include bookmarks, posters and sample packs along with guides to plan career days and activities to celebrate Careers in Construction Month. One of the most notable and highly sought after resources is the trading card decks. With 32 different cards featuring craft professionals and various managerial positions, real men and women in the industry are featured along with their craft’s salary and educational requirements. Not only does this allow individuals to envision themselves underneath the hard hat, but it also encourages them to think of the many possibilities beyond a costly college degree and outlines the steps to get there.

Overall, BYF is committed to revamping the image of the construction industry and providing students, educators and contractors with the resources necessary to pursue careers as craft professionals. Whether an individual is a self-starter, pioneer, take-charge leader or creative thinker, the construction industry offers opportunities and career paths to fit each and every personality. The information simply needs to be shared with the masses and BYF is that platform.

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