Investing in the Future: Industry Companies Focus on Developing the Next Generation of Workers

Whether through webinars, school visits or designated days, such as the recent manufacturing day, members of the construction industry, including those working with glass, metal and facades, are making an effort to inspire a new generation of workers. That’s part of what the nationwide campaign Careers in Construction Month (CICM), which takes place every October, is about. Led by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Build Your Future (BYF), the program aims to increase public awareness of construction careers.

According to the BYF site, 144 organizations have pledged to make an industry and education connection during the ninth annual CICM, with the opportunity for more groups to join. One of those organizations is AllStar Glass Company, based in Spokane Valley, Wash.

“We recognize Careers in Construction every day of every month,” says Jodi Martinez, vice president of AllStar Glass. “October is declared as the month for recognition; that makes it easier for all businesses to show their support in unison. AllStar Glass is very active in the workforce development efforts in our local community all year long.” Twenty-four states and territories, including Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have officially proclaimed this month as CICM with 22 already having filed some proclamation, according to BYF.

“Making the visible proclamation of ASG supporting CICM is just another way of promoting our industry when more people are looking! Any business, any person, can support Careers in Construction and October is the month to do just that,” Martinez says.

The Associated General Contractors of America has also pledged to recognize October as CICM.

“While we view every month as Career in Construction month, we are continuing to rollout our ‘Construction is Essential’ targeted digital advertising campaign throughout the month,” says Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives. “This includes new rounds of advertising in Oregon and Idaho. And, we are holding, on October 13, our inaugural National Construction Industry Workforce Summit in St. Louis. This event is bringing together professionals focused on workforce development in the construction, chapter, union and education communities.”

Whether or not it’s to recognize a specific month or day, adults should encourage those who are considering what to do in the future to look at the field of construction.

“I think it’s important to have days like this and months like this and events where we reach out… to kind of fill in the gaps of where the traditional construction careers are,” says Lisa Godlewski, executive director of the Architectural Glass and Metal Association.  “I think that it’s important that young people, or people who want to switch careers, have access to understanding the depth and breadth of all there is that goes into construction.”

It’s a field that is immensely valuable to students and young people hoping to get a start on their careers. Dennis McDonough, the recruitment coordinator at the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region, says while most high schools and teachers encourage students to move onto college and university, providing them with the knowledge of the construction field can be just as valuable.

“By giving construction awareness, it gives the students another opportunity to learn a skill and actually get an education,” he says. “Especially if you join an apprenticeship program in the trades where… you’re learning a craft that you can take with you over the years, and at no cost,” says McDonough. “That’s the motto of the apprenticeship– earn while you learn.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Godlewski. She says having a month of events and opportunities dedicated to learning about a career that betters one’s surroundings is a powerful message.

“They get to take home and say, ‘Hey, not only do I get to do something good at the end of the day, but I’m going to be able to see the goodness of the work that I’ve done,’” she says.

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