Scott: We are looking at what comes next after high school, and in some states there is a shortage of skilled construction workers. And some schools are working to find a solution.
Brent Dennis: The things we learn here, you can’t really learn in woodshop classes.
Scott: It is a hardhat’s haven at Construction Careers Academy in Texas.
Nadine Mireles: This is the real deal. You take online courses. You could have AutoCAD up there and you build 3D renderings. And it’s just…every day is a new day.
Scott: Nadine Mireles and Brent Dennis are seniors at the specialized high school.
Principal Doug McMurr: Companies are finding it very difficult to find craft workers that work on the construction sites as well as the in-house professional staff, like estimators and project managers and the like.
Scott: Contractors are struggling with shortages of workers as the home-building market improves. The crunch is affecting a handful of states, including Texas, Arizona, California, Iowa and Florida. But it is expected to worsen and spread across the U.S. over the next few years, building officials say. The shortages are already prompting builders to raid each other’s job sites for workers.
By 2017, there could be a shortage of 2 million commercial construction workers, according to the Construction Users Roundtable, a trade group. That is why many schools like the Construction Careers Academy are vital. The academy is part of Northside Independent School District and focuses on architecture and construction skills. It lets students work hands-on and alongside pros.
Principal McMurr: There are students that can come out of this program that can go directly into the workforce, if they’d like, with good paying jobs, or they can go to Alamo colleges for a two-year program, or they can go into the new Construction Science and Management program at UTSA.
Scott: The academy gives students a head start toward a growing career.
So, what is next for students who are interested in construction? High school students should take classes in math, physics, shop and welding. The job field is diverse. Some jobs require additional training, so it depends on what you want to do. You could be building highways, excavating tunnels, or putting up homes. Salaries range from $30,000 – $80,000, depending on specialty.
And high schoolers can also apply for apprenticeships and other training programs with local trade groups and unions.
Other school districts also offer similar programs to Construction Careers Academy.
Nadine: It’s helped me, for one. I got an internship, so I get real life skills in habitat. You build houses, become a leader. You actually know what the workforce is over there.
Brent: I think I want to go straight into the industry. That’s what I’m thinking about.
Scott: You can watch other What Next? segments at Channelone.com. And if you are interested in working in a growing career field, leave a comment on the page. You never know, we just might contact you for a future segment.