Construction Careers Toolkit
Why a career in construction? It provides a stable income, a serious ladder for advancement and meaningful work. And those are just a few reasons why entering the construction trades is a great idea.
Now more than ever, the next generation needs to understand why the building industry can be a rewarding career. This is why strong school partnerships are needed across North Carolina. Local HBA chapters can be the link to enrich a school’s career and technical education (CTE) program. These programs are often under-funded and not a focus for schools primarily concerned with pushing students towards a four-year college degree. A partnership is a win-win for both schools and the home builiding industry.
By getting involved, home building industry professionals can work directly with the next generation of skilled tradespeople and builders to bridge the skilled labor gap. As home builders continue to struggle to find adequate skilled labor, the job market has never been better for the next generation to start building the American Dream.
Where to start? Below you’ll find our 8 Steps To Establishing An Effective School Partnership Program. Use this guide as a resource to creating a program in your community!
HBA chapters should have a key person (or a committee) to address vocational education. A Continuing Education trades-related representative should be included.
Identify existing career & technical education (CTE) programs in your local schools. A good place to start is at the administrative office of your local school system. They have a director in charge of CTE programs within their service area. Get to know that person and get to know the instructors in the schools. Invite them to an HBA meeting or have them as a speaker.
Once you know what is in place, the HBA can partner with the schools in a way to benefit the construction industry and the school programs. One easy thing to do is to set up a relationship so that members might hire graduates. An HBA could donate tools or materials to a local program in need. Provide speakers to the class room. Some HBAs hold a local contest of some type that involves, for example, carpentry and masonry programs. Moreover, most community colleges have a Career Center. Get to know your local contact there. As job opportunities are available, they can help market the position and/or connect you to recent graduates who may be good candidates.
Be visible at school board meetings from time to time. Thank the superintendent and school board members for existing programs in place. Once programs are gone, they may be difficult to get back. At times, HBAs have helped find instructors if there is a need. At Community Colleges, there is a need for readily available instructors. If you are interested, connect with you local Continuing Education trades-related contact.
When possible, educate parents and guidance counselors on the rewards of a career in the building trades. Remember that schools or community colleges are likely to cancel or re-schedule classes if the minimum student enrollment number for these courses is not met.
Early in the spring, the NCHBA holds a Construction Trades Teacher of the Year Contest. Local HBA chapters can nominate a high school teacher for this reward – $500 plus great recognition to the state winner. If local nominee does not win, he or she could still be recognized at a local meeting.
Apprenticeship in NC is handled by the NC Dept. of Labor (919-733-7533). In some cases, high schools are involved. A student could get the theory in a construction related class while working part-time or summers in the building industry. Employers must be willing and involved for apprenticeship to work. The CTE person at the school system main office can guide you as well.
NCHBA members can judge trades competitions at the state Skills USA competitions. Regional events are typically held in February and March. The state completion is held in April. High school students from across the state compete for the right to go to the nationals – held each summer.