How to Celebrate Careers in Construction Month with NCCER and Build Your Future
With October being the ninth annual Careers in Construction Month (CICM), NCCER and Build Your Future (BYF) are focusing on inspiring the next generation to choose careers in construction and celebrating the art of building. CICM provides an opportunity to raise awareness about successful construction career paths, which is needed to help fill the skills gap.
According to the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA), a tool developed by Construction Industry Resources, 40% of seasoned craft professionals are estimated to retire within the next ten years. This contributes to the fact that the industry is facing an estimated 2 million skilled worker shortage through 2025 — making it critical that we work together to build a talent pipeline.
We need young people choosing construction.
By 2025, Generation Z, those born roughly between 1997-2012, will make up 27% of the workforce. Yet, the CLMA reports that only 9.4% of those under the age of 25 are working in construction, lower than the national average share of 11.6% for all industries.
So, why are fewer young people choosing construction? One likely reason is the lack of awareness. The industry ticks many of the boxes that Gen Z is looking for, chief among them being financial security and career advancement.
With student debt reaching 1.7 trillion dollars – second only to mortgages – nearly half of Gen Zers say that their biggest financial concern is student debt. Due to the rising cost of a college degree, 64% of this demographic are reconsidering an advanced degree. Raised around financial insecurity, Gen Z is driven to succeed and less apt to go into debt for a college degree.
Construction has the opportunities young people are looking for to start a successful career without going into substantial debt. From career and technical education to apprenticeships, Gen Z has options whether they have recently graduated or are still in secondary schools.
As Gen Z is realistic and future focused, stability and career advancement are key components for this demographic in their job search. With so many seasoned craft professionals retiring over the next decade, career advancement will be certain for young professionals as seasoned and supervisory roles need to be filled.
Celebrating CICM provides the opportunity to start making the connections needed to build a long-lasting pipeline of workers. There are multiple ways to get involved this year:
Proclaim CICM in your state.
Each year, proclamations – official documents issued by the governor to commemorate a specific time period for raising awareness about an issue – are filed across the nation proclaiming October as Careers in Construction Month. As of Sept. 17, 38 states and U.S. territories have filed a proclamation. To find out if your state has proclaimed and how to file a proclamation, visit byf.org/cicm.
Once you’ve proclaimed, download the CICM Social Media Guide and graphics to start sharing across your social platforms.
Take the Careers in Construction Pledge.
We are encouraging industry representatives and educators to create meaningful connections with each other throughout October. Currently nearly 100 companies and organizations have pledged to make connections between education and industry this October — join them today.
Sign the pledge that your company will participate in classroom engagements during the month of October. By doing so, you will be entered into a drawing for one of four $5,000 scholarships to be given to the secondary craft training program of your choice.
Show off your trainees and apprentices’ skills.
The seventh annual I BUILT THIS! video contest, opening Oct. 1, gives construction students and trainees the chance to participate in CICM and showcase their building projects. Celebrating the art of building, high school students and postsecondary construction trainees or apprentices are all eligible to enter. In fact, the 2020 first place postsecondary winner was a masonry trainee who shared his project of building a fireplace with a pizza oven in it.
With prizes from DEWALT, IRWIN, LENOX and Pearson, make sure your trainees submit their video to win big!
Once CICM is over, it's essential to continue building connections with students and educators in your area. The CLMA lists masons as one of the key crafts being most at risk for craft worker imbalance between demand and supply over the next five years. Ways to get involved in your community include volunteering on school councils, being a spokesperson and sharing your story.
Your local middle and high schools most likely have several advisory councils, and they’re looking for volunteers from the community. General councils come up with annual plans to improve education in vital areas of the school, while other councils are more specialized in areas such as career and technical education. Garrett High School’s Career Development program credits a good portion of their success to local industry representatives sitting on their advisory board. Contact your local high school to see how you can contribute.
In addition, presentations and career day visits can happen year long, not just in October. Become a resource for your local secondary schools. Gen Zers are looking for authentic experiences, and the chance to speak with somebody successful in the industry gives students insight into construction. Not only are you contributing to building a talent pipeline, but you’re inspiring the next generation to consider a career they may not have thought of.
BYF is always searching for inspiring stories to tell. The success stories we share range from apprentices to craft professionals to CEOs and help young people learn firsthand that construction offers viable, successful career paths. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you got into the industry, what you find most satisfying, and what you recommend to the next generation.
Working with NCCER and BYF, you can help make a difference — not just for the industry, but for the students and young people who aren’t aware of the world of opportunity that construction offers. Be a voice in your community about the benefits of construction and impact a student’s life.
About NCCER — NCCER is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum and assessments with portable credentials and certifications for skilled craft professionals. NCCER provides a comprehensive workforce development system that includes accreditation, training, assessment, certification, and career development solutions for the construction and maintenance industries. For more information, visit www.nccer.org or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.
About Build Your Future – Build Your Future (BYF) is NCCER’s national image enhancement and recruitment initiative for the construction industry. Its mission is to recruit the next generation of craft professionals by making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools, shifting negative public perception about careers in the construction industry, and providing a path from ambition, to training, to job placement as a craft professional. BYF provides a number of resources to assist the industry, education, and military organizations in achieving these goals. For more information, visit byf.org.
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