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Construction is an attractive option for many young people when they finish high school or leave the military, but most think of college as the only route to a good career and decent pay. The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) is trying to change that mindset with the Build Your Future (BYF) program. “We provide a collaborative grassroots approach to construction workforce forecasting and development that includes recruitment, training, placement, retention, and image enhancement strategies,” according to the BYF web page.
BYF is currently developing ways to work with construction-related associations such as the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) to develop recruitment tools. A recent blog on the BYF web site, “Why We Should Rethink How We Go To College,” encourages high school graduates to consider a skilled trade in lieu of taking on student debt, which is estimated to be $1.6 trillion in the U.S. And then some college degrees may not prepare a person for the future they imagine. “The first and most important change that must be made is the narrative that college is the best – or only – option for every student immediately after high school,” writes Jonathan Arnholz, NCCER Social Media Specialist. He goes on to encourage high school grads to consider taking a gap year and enter the construction industry until they know what they really want to do with their future.
BYF is promoting an effort to get all 50 states to officially proclaim October as Careers in Construction Month to “help raise awareness about the opportunities in the construction industry and inspire the next generation of craft professionals.” The organization has how-to guides for planning, organizing, and celebrating Careers in Construction Month, including suggested community activities and graphics. BYF is also holding the sixth annual “I Built This!” Video contest to give “aspiring craft professionals or their instructors an opportunity to showcase outstanding construction projects.” They will begin accepting entries on October 1, 2020.