Courtesy of ConstructReach
Img 20190827 103936 (1)

Recruiting Teens for Future Jobs in Construction

Feb. 26, 2020
An answer for solving the skilled-labor shortage

Fifty-three percent of skilled trade workers are over the age of 46, according to ConstructReach, a construction industry workforce development company. With the skilled labor shortage looming in the construction industry, the company is taking action.

“The problem hovers over the entire industry, and all within the industry are feeling the impact one way or another,” says Paul Robinson, founder and chief executive officer of ConstructReach. “The success of the industry’s stability depends on those working within the industry to continue to raise awareness of the opportunities and re-posture the industry so that it’s attracting great candidates. This innovative approach introduces construction in a new light.”

For example, ConstructReach recently launched the new “I Built This!” initiative to expand awareness of employment opportunities in the construction industry. As part of the program, the company will embark on a four-city tour to engage high school students aged 16 to 18 years old in renovating and rebuilding projects.

“The teenagers are a part of the next generation,” Robinson says. “It provides us the opportunity to provide insight to the opportunities that exist so that they can be equipped to make informed decisions about what’s next and how to integrate their unique innate gifts with their interests into a future career.”

In the selected cities—Los Angeles, St. Louis, Miami,  and Denver—general contractors will involve the teenagers in hands-on activities like painting, wall framing and helping with fixtures and flooring.

“These markets have growth within the cities that has created an increased demand for construction in addition to them also having emerging and/or developed CTE programs that encompass construction curriculum,” Robinson says.

ConstructReach selected major markets that coincided with Target’s upcoming new store and remodel schedule. The company can then provide a behind-the-scenes view of the various components that work together within the construction of a store. During the program, the students will learn about various career pathways. While it’s an informative experience, it also offers culture and inspiration, which makes for a lasting impression, Robinson says.

“When fun is coupled with knowledge and those they can see themselves in in real-world successful positions, it makes for a powerful event,” Robinson says.

Through the “I Built This!” initiative, ConstructReach also aims to one day increase diversity in the construction workforce. Currently, only 9.1% of construction workers are women, only 5.8% are African American, and only 1.9% are Asian, according to ConstructReach. 

“We can increase diversity through representation and examples,” Robinson says. “When students see themselves represented in construction professions through this event, they get a chance to envision themselves in the industry.

The program also gives the teenage participants the opportunity to not only learn about construction, but also the ability to secure a possible future internship.

“One of the cool aspects is that our industry partners that participate in the event get a chance to engage with the students for future opportunities,” Robinson says. “Post-event, we maintain relationships with the schools that allows us to identify future talent for the industry.”

Fischbach is a freelance writer based in Overland Park, Kan. She can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

Amy Fischbach | Amy Fischbach, EUO Contributing Editor

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EC&M, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Electrical Conduit Comparison Chart

CHAMPION FIBERGLASS electrical conduit is a lightweight, durable option that provides lasting savings when compared to other materials. Compare electrical conduit types including...

Considerations for Direct Burial Conduit

Installation type plays a key role in the type of conduit selected for electrical systems in industrial construction projects. Above ground, below ground, direct buried, encased...

How to Calculate Labor Costs

Most important to accurately estimating labor costs is knowing the approximate hours required for project completion. Learn how to calculate electrical labor cost.

8 Types of Electrical Conduit and Their Uses

Electrical conduit is a tube or raceway used to house and protect electrical wires within a building or structure. From data centers to underground subways to ports and bridges...